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Passport & Plate - Self Made Seitan

Brazil | Friday, January 30, 2015 | 5 photos

Wheat Gluten
1 kg wheat flour
0,5 L water

2 L water
2 cups soy sauce
2 tablespoons miso paste
1 big onion
1 parsley root
2 big carrots
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup tomato puree
handful of shiitake mushrooms
spices: bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, oregano, cloves, coriander, peppercorns, 1 teaspoon vinegar, a pinch of sugar


How to prepare this recipe
Preparation Theory Wheat Gluten: (You will understand why this is a 'theory' when reading my story behind the recipe)
Knead a dough from flour and water (the flour and water should to be in a 2:1 ratio). Now, wash your dough. Stick it in a large bowl of warm/hot water and let it sit there for 20 minutes. Squish the gooey dough around in your hands underwater. This should be done in the sink. You will start to see the water turning white. Once the water has turned pretty much opaque, dump it down the drain. Fill up the bowl with cold water, and continue washing. Proceed along the cycle of washing using alternately warm and cold water. Once the water stays clear, you're done kneading. What was flour once will be a small solid mass, the wheat gluten.

Cooking in Broth:
Cut the vegetables, put all the ingredients and spices (the more, the better) in a pressure cooker and add the wheat gluten. It should be completely covered by liquid. Cook it on high for about 45 minutes. Done. You can cut the seitan into small pieces or store it whole. It should be stored in its broth, in a refrigerated covered container. It can also be frozen.


The story behind this recipe
It was not easy to find all the necessary ingredients in Brazil. Actually, it was impossible. parsley root? They never heard about a weird thing like that. Well, any kind of rooty legume should do, I thought, and grabbed a yam. Shiitake mushrooms are unknown as well, but I found something wrinkled mushroomy from Argentina.
I started by preparing the broth to let it cook while "washing" the wheat flour. What a mess! I swear the dough tried to eat my hand. It didn't want to go off and kept 'biting' into my hand. As punishment, I let it sit in lukewarm water for 20 minutes.
Then I started washing the dough using alternately warm and cold water. Warm not HOT. Do not cook your water like I did! Some washing cycle later the dough had transformed, as well as my formerly clean kitchen. It transformed into some kind of slimy mass. The dough, not the kitchen. That is when I learned to better wash the dough in a big sieve to not lose too much slime …uummm… dough into the drain when changing water. The process of redecorating your kitchen while producing seitan takes about 30 minutes. The slime will eventually turn into some kind of solid mass.
The seitan can be cooked as a whole or in smaller pieces in the broth. That takes about 45 minutes in a pressure cooker. The seitan will absorb some liquid and grow a little. When finished cooking all you have to do is take out the seitan to store. Careful, hot. Again!
By the way, careful when opening the pressure cooker. To little patience might result in an explosion. Guess how I found out!
A dirty kitchen and some burns later, I had created my first homemade seitan. It turned out pretty well in the end though.

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