Whether you want to make this meat substitute yourself at home, or use a ready-made version, this guide will give you all the information you need to start cooking with seitan.
With many of us cutting down on our meat consumption, meat replica products such as seitan have seen a rise in popularity. Most are bought ready-made, but with a little time and effort, you can make seitan yourself at home.
What is seitan?
Seitan, sometimes called wheat meat, is a wheat-based meat alternative, often used in place of chicken. It has a mild taste and a dense, sometimes chewy texture. Seitan is high in protein and some nutrients. It contains gluten so is not suitable for coeliacs or people suffering from gluten intolerance.
How is seitan made?
The vital ingredient in seitan is wheat gluten. Wheat is made up of starches, bran and gluten, when wheat is ground to flour, the starch and bran can be removed, leaving behind the gluten. Wheat gluten has a stretchy, elastic property; it’s what helps bread to rise and gives it its chewy texture. To make seitan, wheat gluten is mixed with other ingredients to add bulk (such as tofu or chickpea flour) and flavour (such as herbs and miso paste).
Once the ingredients have been combined, the seitan can be cooked and eaten or kneaded to develop a meat-like stringy texture, making it popular with people wanting to replicate meat products in their cooking.
- 250g firm tofu
- 150ml unsweetened soy milk
- 2 tsp miso paste
- 2 tsp Marmite
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 160g wheat gluten
- 40g pea protein or vegan protein powder
- 1½ litres vegetable stock
- Blitz the tofu, soy milk, miso, Marmite, onion powder, garlic powder, 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp white pepper in a food processor until smooth. Tip into a bowl and add the wheat gluten and pea protein or protein powder.
- Mix to form a dough. Once the dough has come together, give it a really good knead, stretching and tearing for 10-15 mins. It will be ready once the dough feels springy. Pour the vegetable stock into a pan. Bring to a simmer. Flatten out the seitan to a thickness of 1cm and chop into chicken breast sized chunks.
- Simmer these in the stock for 20 mins, covered with a lid, then allow to cool in the stock. Ideally, do this the day before and leave to chill in the fridge. The seitan chunks can also be frozen if you wish. When you’re ready to use the seitan in a recipe, pat it dry with kitchen paper then chop or tear into smaller pieces before cooking, if you like.
How to use seitan
Seitan can be used to replace chicken in many recipes. Add it to pasta dishes, curries, wraps or try one of these recipes.
Seitan & black bean stir-fry
Seitan’s neutral flavour makes it the perfect vehicle for bold flavours. Use it in our seitan & black bean stir-fry with a sweet and spicy sauce and moreish noodles. This easy family meal is great for using up veg from the fridge.
Kentucky fried seitan
The chewy texture of seitan contrasts well with a crispy crunchy crust in this recipe. Try making a large version for a crispy seitan burger or smaller nuggets for dunking in your favourite sauce. Our Kentucky fried seitan is ideal party food.
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