So. If you’re gluten intolerant or celiac, you can probably click off this post. (I’m sorry!)
If you aren’t, well. Welcome – SEITAN!
I love the stuff.
Not sure what the hell it is? Read here
Most Seitan recipes call for boiling, steaming or baking for anywhere from 45-60 minutes (or more!) – and to be honest, I don’t have time for that sometimes. Especially when I want vegan chicken, like, now. I’ve found boiling seitan (for me personally) can be very problematic and I end up with a pile of brains. Yum.
So, this has been my new go-to method! The Seitan ends up tender yet firm (think, little nuggets) with a little bite to it – and not to mention, super crispy on the outside. The perfect addition to stir fries, pasta, salad and more! You can easily switch the spices around to make it taste like either beef or pork – seriously guys, this stuff is versatile.
Seitan and vegan meat substitutes are very subjective – you either like ’em or don’t like them, or you have a preferred style/taste/texture. This is my favourite way to enjoy meat substitutes, however there are HUNDREDS of different recipes for alternatives to meat out there to try on the inter-webs – so please, don’t stop here! Keep exploring and finding new alternatives.
Step one: THE DOUGH. It’ll kinda feel weird, also it’ll look weird. Get used to it. Knead it for around 10-15 times, let it rest for 2 minutes, then knead a little more. You’ll feel the elasticity build, but be careful not to knead too much as you’ll end up having some chewy-ass meat.
Next, you wanna break it off into 13 small sections – stretch each out between your hands to help flatten them out a little. The secret here is keeping them relatively thin, they’ll cook faster. I love the organic shape these wee cutlets have – and hold, whilst steaming.
Close ups – not too thick, not too thin is the secret!!
I used a bamboo steamer lined with parchment paper to steam them in, I feel this way allows you to space them out around the steamer better. If you have a large steamer basket that is relatively flat with a lid, then by all means go for it! You may need to do it in two batches so they cook evenly, however. They are going to expand a little whilst steaming, this is okay as you are only steaming for a grand total of approximately 13 minutes, and they will shrink down in size a lot once you let them sit for a bit!
Let them cool for a few minutes after steaming, then slice into smaller pieces (optional), toss in cornflour, heat up some oil in a frying pan then fry until golden and crispy on the outside. I love adding a dash of toasted sesame oil, tamari or balsamic vinegar to the pan just before then finish for some extra flavour! They would go PERFECT coated in my sauce from my Lemon ‘Honey’ & Soy cauliflower wings -> HERE!
However – if you do not want to serve them straight away, skip the grilling/frying part and simply allow them to cool completely before storing them in a snaplock bag or airtight container in the refrigerator. They will keep in there for up to 4-5 days! Then, when you are ready to serve – take ’em out and THEN proceed with slicing, grilling and frying. Om nom. They’ll firm up in the fridge, but do not fear! They soften against once cooked.
Well, if you do make em – be sure to let me know by tagging me on Instagram & using the tag #sobeautifullyreal or leaving a comment! I’d love to know what you use them for. Much love, team!
Easy Vegan Chicken Bites (AKA, Seitan in under 30 minutes)
Makes 13 ‘nuggets’
Total Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Cooking Time: 20 minutes (Steaming & Frying)
200g gluten flour (vital wheat gluten)
10g nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp chicken-style stock powder (check that it’s vegan friendly!)
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground sage leaves
1 1/4 cups water (more if needed)
1 tbsp tahini
2 tsp soy sauce or tamari
1 tbsp cornstarch/cornflour
2-3 tbsp olive oil (or oil of preference)
Optional additions; Toasted Sesame Oil, Tamari, Balsamic Vinegar, BBQ Sauce, Onion Powder, Garlic etc
- Whisk together the gluten flour, nutritional yeast, stock powder & spices.
- Whisk together the water, tahini and soy sauce
- Bring a pot of water to the boil, one that’s a suitable size where you can sit a bamboo steamer basket or large steamer basket on top without the water reaching the bottom of the basket. Line the bamboo steamer with baking paper.
- Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well until everything comes together into a dough. Add a little water if necessary (only a tsp at a time!) Keep kneading with your hands for roughly 10-15 times until it feels firm and spongy. Let the dough rest for 2 minutes, then knead again. Do not over knead!
- Pull the dough apart into 13 small sections and stretch them out with your hands. They will resemble little ‘cutlets’ – you want them relatively thin (no more than roughly 1 1/2cm thickness) as they will expand a little whilst steaming.
- Neatly arrange the cutlets in the steamer. You want to leave a small amount of space between each cutlet, but if they end up touching it’s okay! You may need to do two batches!
- Once the steamer is ready and steaming away, Steam them for 12-13 minutes. To check if ready, I simply removed a cutlet at the 12-13 minute mark and sliced into it – it will be soft, but firm enough to slice into it without it feeling gummy/stretchy. If it’s still gummy, steam for a further minute or two. Immediately remove from the heat once ready and remove the cutlets from the steamer basket, by resting them on a board to cool off. As they cool off they will begin to firm up.
- If you are not wanting to use them straight away, simply allow to cool completely and store in an airtight resealable bag or container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.
- When you are ready to serve (either straight away or another day) follow the following procedure;
- Slice the cutlets into smaller pieces and coat in 1 tbsp cornstarch.
- Heat 2-3 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan and add the cutlets. Fry until golden brown and slightly crisp on the outside.
- Just before you take them off the heat I like to drizzle a little toasted sesame oil, tamari and a sprinkle of onion powder over top. Some balsamic vinegar & good quality BBQ sauce would be equally as delicious.
- Once the cutlets are golden feel free to add them to your favourite dishes – think salads, stir-frys, noodles, curries and more!
** Feel free to change up the spices! If you are wanting to turn these into lil’ beef bites – simply change the sage to some smokey paprika and the chicken stock to beef style stock! (Once again, check it’s vegan – most of them are)