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Seitan (deep-fried)

Submitted by Eric

Combine the vital wheat gluten with hot water in a bowl. Use just enough hot water to get all the gluten flour wet. Knead the mixture with your hands. It should form a big sticky mass. If it's not holding together well, that means your vital wheat gluten isn't fresh. That's not a major problem, it just means you have to knead longer. When the gluten is holding together fairly well, pour cold water into the bowl, and continue kneading. The water will turn whitish. Pour out the water when it is white, and get more cold water. Repeat this process for a while - you are washing the starch out of the vital wheat gluten, so that it becomes more protein-rich. Don't do it too many times, however, or the seitan will be too tough. Experiment with this a few times, and you will know when to stop rinsing. When you are satisfied with the results, it's time to cook the seitan.

Heat the oil in the bottom of a saucepan or wok (it's hard to get the oil really deep in a frying pan). When the oil is hot, it's time to start frying. Tear the gluten into small pieces (think gumball-sized) and drop into the oil. The oil is too cool if the gluten sinks, and too hot if it is bubbling. The gluten should be ready in about 3 minutes or so, but you have to really watch it to achieve the particular texture/crunchiness that you prefer. Pull the gluten out with tongs or a spoon with holes in it. Put it on a paper towel if you want to decrease the grease content a little bit. Then salt to your taste and wait a minute or so for the seitan to cool down.