The last of the ingredients provided to me by the lovely folks at buywholefoodsonline.co.uk was Vital Wheat Gluten, which has many uses from bread and cakes to, one of the more popular applications of late, Seitan, a meat replacement product.
As an avid meat eater, it was Seitan I wanted to try more than anything. I had heard about the meat like qualities you could get by combining Vital Wheat Gluten with lentils, spices and other flavourings. One of my favourite ways to eat meat is as steak so it is what I chose to make using Seitan. A little research led me to this recipe on itdoesnttastlikechicken.com. Just a warning for you, this is a little process heavy but the end result is worth the effort.
Start by adding your Vital Wheat Gluten, lentils (I used precooked tinned green lentils), water, nutritional yeast, tomato purée, soy sauce (I used dark because it is more flavourful), garlic, chilli powder and black pepper to a food processor.
*The recipe called for liquid smoke also but i didn’t have any and I don’t particularly like the taste of it.
Pulse the food processor until everything is mixed well. You’ll probably need to scrape the sides as you go to make sure you don’t miss any ingredients.
Once it’s mixed well, turn it out into a clean work surface and knead it until it forms a firm ball. It will be very crumbly when you start but keep at it for a couple of minutes; the transformation is miraculous. Be sure not to knead it for too long as it will become too chewy when cooked (I may have done this…)
Cut the ball into 4 pieces and roll out into 1-1.5cm sections. Shape into your desired “steak” shape and then steam for 20-25 minutes.
While the steaks steam put together your marinade. Mix soy sauce (I used light this time), water, olive oil and maple syrup. When the steaks are finished steaming transfer them to a container or bag and pour over the marinade. Leave it to marinate for at least 30 minutes so the flavours can infuse.
When the steaks are well marinaded it is time to sear them. I seared mine in a heavy bottom frying pan but it would work well on a barbecue or you could also do it under a hot grill. The idea is to get the grill marks on the steak and caramelise the marinade on the outside. A few minutes in each side and they are ready to eat. Serve however you prefer. We had ours with some homemade potato wedges.
As mentioned earlier, I may have overworked the dough a little during the kneading. The Seitan steak was quite chewy but the flavour was outstanding. The Vital Wheat Gluten had formed strands like you get in meat. When cut open it looked like a dense beef burger. I’m really happy with the outcome of this. In fact, I’m already looking at Seitan recipes for what I can cook next! I’m thinking fried ‘chicken’ or even buffalo ‘wings’.
Thanks again to buywholefoodsonline.co.uk for providing me with the organic barley flour, beetroot powder, Ceylon cinnamon and Vital Wheat Gluten. It has been such a pleasure experimenting with these amazing ingredients. If you’re interested in experimenting too, buywholefoodsonline.co.uk have an extensive range of ingredients to spark your creativity