jueves, 30 de enero de 2014

The Seitanic* Verses - Cooking Gluten Fajitas

*10 points if you got the Rushdie reference, dawg. If you didn't, lemme throw some knowledge at your bitch ass.

I apologize for the 9 month hiatus, guys, but shit got sort of fucked up in these last few months and it only just started to improve. I'm not dwelling on my emo bullshit. Suffice it to say I'm now happily married and have 3 wonderful jobs I love.

Anyway, I'm deviating from the standard, cholesterol-laden fare I so love to feature here to introduce you to some weird as fuck vegan food: Seitan. Most people (or at least, most people I know) have never heard of it, and nearly gag when they see it come out of a can.
And this is AFTER the food stylist

Also known as "mock duck", you can find different varieties of it in specialty asian food stores, be it canned or vacuum-packed. It's essentially wheat gluten, clumped up in rubbery, spongy nuggets of vegetarian misery flavored with all kinds of spices that ultimately make it taste nothing like meat or duck or actually food.

That is, unless you get off your lazy ass and make some from scratch. In that case, it's awesome (Obviously, not bacon awesome, but pretty damned good for something vegetarian.). Over the course of the last few years, our social circle has diversified to include vegetarians, vegans, celiacs and keto-ers, so I've taken the plunge into uncharted seas and found some tasty shit on the way.

Start with 1 kg of plain, all purpose flour, unsifted. Mix it with about 2.2 cups of cold water in an electric mixer. Make sure your mixer can take it, because this thing will turn into a rubbery clusterfuck in a few minutes. Turn it out to a counter and knead for a few minutes.

Some people season the dough when mixing, but I find it completely unnecessary
Dump it into a bowl and cover it completely with cold tap water, then let it rest overnight. The initial beating and kneading will start gluten release, while the overnight soaking will hidrate the starches in the flour and make them soluble enough to be washed away.

The next day, knead lightly again over a cheesecloth-lined collander and start rubbing it between your palms as you hold it under running water. Keep doing this until the water runs mostly clear, about 10 minutes. This will wash away most of the starches and leave you with mostly pure wheat protein. It will look disgusting and will not be edible. Also, you will be left with roughly half of the initial volume. Right now you can submerge this dough in heavily salted water and will keep in your fridge for about a week.

When you're ready to eat, break your raw seitan into 4 or 6 pieces and boil it for an hour on medium heat in vegetable stock. In this case, it's just water with a splash of soy sauce, a lot of minced garlic and some powdered ginger. The seitan sponges will expand and absorb some of the liquid, so make sure there's plenty of room for them in your pot.

Once cooked, let them cool completely and slice to desired size (or not. I mean, who the fuck am I to tell you what to do?) . Now you're ready to cook them however you please.

In this case, I made a simple stir-fry with whatever I could find in my fridge. Onions, celery, mushrooms and tomatoes. The sauce was 2 Tbsps soy sauce, 2 Tbsps white vinegar, 4 Tbsps sugar and 1 Tbsp cornstarch diluted in 4 Tbsps cold water.

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Seitan (Wheat Gluten Meat Substitute)

Serves 4

  • 2.2 lbs all-purpose flour
  • 2.2 cups cold water
  • Vegetable stock, soy sauce and whatever condiments you feel like putting into it
  • Patience, young Padawan. A lot of it.

  1. Make a dough mixing the water and flour and kneading for a few minutes, it should be elastic, but not necessarily smooth.
  2. Cover it completely in water and let it rest for 8 hours, undisturbed.
  3. Rinse under cold water over a washcloth lined collander and gently rub between your palms until the water runs clear.
  4. Form 4 dough balls and boil for 45 to 60 minutes in whatever the fuck you feel like.
  5. Let cool and cook like chicken breast or something.
  6. Be awesome and leave a comment, bro.