Simple Savory Seitan

February 17, 2008 at 6:20 pm (My brain, Seitan, unrated)

Last night I pulled some seitan out of the freezer. I’m not positive but I think I made it using the recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance. It was quite spongey and wet, so I let it drain in a colander for a while, then sliced it into very thin slices. I dredged the slices in chickpea flour (besan), then lightly pan-fried them in my cast iron skillet. While they were cooking I sprinkled them with thyme, lots of black pepper, and a touch of cinnamon. I didn’t add any salt as the broth they were cooked in was very salty. The final seitan was a little crispy on the outside but still moist on the inside, and had a great savory flavor. I don’t think I would have been able to tell that there was thyme or cinnamon on it if I hadn’t already known. The flavors combined nicely with the chickpea flour to create a good savory base, without any one flavor being dominant.

A few of the fatter pieces still tasted sponge-y in the centre, and the seasonings hadn’t penetrated, so I put them back on the pan and let them cook a bit longer, pressing down on the pieces with my spatula to get the water out. That seemed to fix the problem.

I enjoyed snacking on the seitan, but haven’t figured out what I’m going to do with it yet. I’m thinking of eating it for dinner with brown rice and broccoli and some kind of light sauce. It will be a simple dinner but tasty.

A few years ago my friend Spoons adapted a Paula Wolfert Moroccan recipe for chicken, turning it into a tofu dish. He used very finely minced onions, lots of cinnamon and black pepper, dates, and red wine vinegar. The dish was served with couscous (of course). I really liked the cinnamon and black pepper combination in a savory recipe, and vowed to try it myself. I’ve tried making a similar tofu dish a few times but mine never came out quite as well as Spoons’s. I will keep trying, but I mention Spoons’s creation here because it was his tofu dish that inspired me to season my seitan with cinnamon today. I thought about adding some red wine as well, as called for in the recipe for Ethiopian Seitan in Vegan with a Vengeance, but after tasting the seitan I decided not to add anything; I liked it too much to risk screwing it up.

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