Hail, Seitan!

His LordshipPlant-Based Mother-Fucking Discourse2 Comments

Hail, Seitan

I’ll be honest. One thing that I kind of miss since becoming a PBMF is the “bite” of meat. I spent 44 years chewing and chomping my way through all of the chickens and turkeys and piggies and occasional cows. That doesn’t make me proud (just guilty), but you will understand when I say that none of the pretend meats on offer even come close.

Take Tofu. I tried. I really tried. But the amount of effort required to make it even half-way tasty is infuriating. And even then, it just kind of melts-in-your-mouth.

It was suggested that slightly harder veggies with a bit more bite to them make great substitutes for meat in your favourite dishes. No, they don’t. This is a lie. What they make are slightly harder veggies in your favourite dishes.

There are many burger or sausage substitutes available, but most are horribly processed rubbish. Or they are so full of carbs I would become obese overnight. Or they are so damn expensive to make them unaffordable long-term. Or, all of the above.

Then I discovered Seitan (pronounced “say-tan”). Despite its fun name, it has nothing to do with hell or Beelzebub. It is in fact the protein taken from wheat, washed through until all the starch (sugars) is gone which leaves just the sticky gluten. Rather surprisingly, when cooked, it comes very, very close to the texture, bite and mouth-feel of chicken. Even better, it will take on any flavour you like so, chuck it in a curry and suddenly you could have a “chicken” Korma. Throw it in a Chinese and you could have sweet and sour “chicken”.

Look, it isn’t perfect. Obviously, if you have a Gluten allergy it is probably not for you. But, for someone like me that does miss the bite and mouth-feel of meat and really wouldn’t care if all the tofu on planet earth exploded, this is rather fantastic.

So any veggie, vegan or PBMFs out there bemoaning the fact that they miss meat, give Seitan a go. It can be hard to find but you can make it yourself; all you need is flour, water and a bit of patience. Google will explain how.

2 Comments on “Hail, Seitan!”

  1. glad youve done this blog, after 1 of your latest emails to me where you mention it, i did indeed google it, quite a fascinating thing really, sounds a bit awkward to make yourself, so my next step it to look at the ready made alternatives available, also glad you mentioned tofu, was gonna email you bout that at some point, but sounds likes its a no-no to try.

    i dont think i could ever go totally veggie or vegan, i do like my meat (sorry) but the more i lean through you and vikki, the more i realise its not jus bout eating vegetables, that there are alternatives out there, so maybe mixing my diet up a lil, instead of always having a chicken curry or s&s try other things, instead of beef burgers try he bean version, jus so my diet is more varied and hopefully more healthy

    thnk you good sir!!!

  2. I have not yet tried seitan, but like you I found all the meat substitutes horrid, which is ironic since I wasn’t actually trying to find something that tastes like meat, just an alternative that tasted nice. None of them did.

    That being said, after a long search, I have finally found a few which are really good, albeit quite new.
    Richmond’s meat free sausages
    Beyond Burgers
    Impossible burgers

    Food that relies heavily on herbs and spices doesn’t actually need meat at all in order to taste good, and in many cases I find the meat adds nothing whatsoever, well in the case of chicken anyway.

    Indian, Chinese and Thai would be my primary examples.
    I simply replaced the chicken with potatoes in my Curry’s and it is just as good, I do not miss the meat at all. Also works with Thai and chinese, but you don’t even need the potato.

    Beef is a different matter, as that does enhance flavour, I need to experiment more with mushrooms and seitan as a beef alternative. There is a certain type of mushroom that is meant to work really well as a beef alternative, even for steak. But sadly not easy to get hold of.

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