After verbally accepting a free haul of what was mistakenly described as “wheat germ,” I found myself with 10 boxes of vital wheat gluten. After researching what to make with the stuff, I discovered that many use it to make the meat substitute known as seitan. I normally do not encourage the use of meat substitutes, but, philosophy aside, the seitan turned out to be delicious, and just the recipe needed to use up the vital wheat gluten. Though I added nutritional yeast flakes to the recipe for added benefits, it may be omitted, and the seasonings may be changed to suit different tastes.
This recipe made quite a bit of seitan (5 large patties), which made for an easy week of stir-fry lunches and dinners. Though the seitan kept well in the refrigerator during this time, I imagine that it may begin to spoil after a week. I recommend cutting the recipe in half for those that would have difficulty eating this much seitan.
2 cups vital wheat gluten
6 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper powder
1 and 1/2 cups vegetable stock
12 cups vegetable stock for simmering (or combination of stock and water)
Begin by combining the dry ingredients. Gradually add the 1 and 1/2 cups vegetable stock (you may use less) and knead with your hands until a rubbery ball just forms. Let the ball rest a moment before kneading further and dividing it into 5-7 lumps. Knead each lump before stretching each one into a patty form.
As far as cooking vessels go, choose a large pot (a stock pot would work wonders), two pots (if you have the burner space), or opt to simmer the seitan in batches, reserving and reusing the broth. It should be taken into account that the seitan will expand while cooking. Begin heating the 12 cups stock in a large pot and add the seitan patties. When the stock comes to a boil, immediately turn the heat down to low, cover the pot, and let the patties simmer for one hour.
Remove the patties, and set them on a towel for a moment to drain excess liquid. When finished, the patties will be firm but squishy, like a sponge. To cook, cut a patty into bite-size pieces and throw them into a stir-fry, like the broccoli, mushroom, sesame seed, and abalone sauce stir-fry pictured below.