It is always somewhat of an experiment anytime I make a seitan or gluten dish. I’m always striving to improve on the flavor and texture, not that it wasn’t delicious the last time or the time before.
My experience with seitan goes way back to childhood when I was sometimes tasked with washing the dough to rinse away the starch. In those days we made seitan by soaking a ball of flour dough for a few hours then kneading and rinsing the dough in water to separate the protein/gluten from the starch. The resulting flavorless gluten was then boiled in a brothy stew to infuse it with flavor.
Now that wheat gluten is available in powdered form, the soaking and rinsing procedures are no longer necessary and flavors can be mixed directly into the dough.
This is what I did with wheat gluten today:
To 1 1/3 cups vital wheat gluten I added:
- 1/2 cup mushroom powder
- 1/4 cup tomato powder
- 1 tablespoon spinach powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon sage
- 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Liquid ingredients for the dough were:
- 1 1/4 cup beet juice
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon roasted black bean paste
I mixed the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and kneaded the dough for a few minutes before pressing it flat and cutting it into “steaks.”
The gluten steaks were wrapped in parchment paper and placed in the steamer. They steamed for 30 minutes on one side and 15 minutes on the other.
I made a sauce to brush on the steaks before frying them. The sauce ingredients were:
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 tablespoon teriyaki
- 2 tablespoons beet juice
- 1 tablespoon Ume Plum Vinegar
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
- drizzle of toasted sesame oil
- a couple shakes of liquid smoke
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder
For the rest of this meal, carrots and broccoli were cooked in the same steamer.
So, how were the gluten steaks? The flavor was good (Faye thought they were a product purchased from the store). I would have preferred for the texture to have been chewier. The dough probably wasn’t kneaded long enough to fully engage the gluten. Overall they were quite impressive.