Ride With The Devil

by Sarah on February 10, 2012 · 12 comments

Today’s Freaky Friday post takes the freaky weird to a whole new set of levels. [Yes, levels, in the plural.] First, there’s the oddity of discovering this box tucked in the back of Papa and Stepmama Smart’s pantry.

And second, there’s the bizarre and, quite honestly, off-putting appearance of the concoction I made with it.

Sure, Stepmama Smart probably used it to add lightness and elasticity to whichever Cooking Light baking recipe had struck her fancy (or to soften up her perfect pizza dough).But to me, the “vegan with benefits” [and too lazy of a baker to ever worry about adding gluten to (never) homemade bread], the only thing I could think was, “Have Papa and Stepmama Smart been riding with the devil?”*

*And consequently, been cavorting with Tobey Maguire, Skeet Ulrich, and Jewel.^

^Who will save your soul, indeed.


Of course, I’m referring not to Satan, but the wheat-meat(-treat?) that bears an awkwardly similar name: seitan. [Emphasis on the -an, so as to avoid any awkward images of you devouring hooves and horns.]A source of vegan an vegetarian protein, seitan is often used as a replacement for chicken in stews, stir-fries, and the like, due to its similar texture.

Sure, it might look a little freaky…but when you think about it, so does chicken.

It’s also just as inexpensive (if not more so) and easy to prepare as thawing and baking a frozen chicken breast.*

*Without any threat of salmonella contamination. Bonus!Start with 1 cup of wheat gluten. [Yes, Johnny, I’m sorry to tell you that does mean seitan is not gluten-free.] Add 1-2 Tbsp. of nutritional yeast, based on your love for the stuff.*

*Or not. I’m quite partial, but I only went with one.

Garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper are the most basic seasonings. You could make an Italian herb-flavored seitan, or a Cajun version.  I simply added cumin. Because I add cumin to everything.

From there, it’s simply a matter of mixing.What a devilish grin you have!

A mixture of vegetable broth and low-sodium soy  or tamari (although what’s the point with that, when you’re using pure gluten already…) is all you need to finish the devil’s work.

Bubble, bubble, toil, and trouble…cauldron burn, and seitan bubble!

You can use a wooden spoon to mix everything together, but the sheer elasticity of it all really will make this a frustrating task.

Really, it’s better to just abandon the spoon altogether.You’ve already made a deal with the devil…you might as well get your hands dirty!

The more you work the dough, the tougher and chewier the final seitan will be. It looks like an ugly old lump, for sure, but just keep the faith. [Turn away from evil!]

You can make it into patties of whichever size you like…but I’ve always been partial to the bite-sized.

With this recipe, you can pinch off about 18 seitan nuggets. You’ll want to pop them down into a glass pan.

They aren’t the prettiest lil’ devils, but I promise they’ll be yummy…in a freaky weird way, of course.

Pour broth into the pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.Take out the pan and flip those bad boys over, then bake for another 15 minutes or so.

The nuggets will last for quite awhile in the fridge.

Cover them in more broth to maintain soft and chewy texture until you can use them up in a stir-fry, sautee, or seitan pot pie.Although I would recommend one more thing, if I were you.Label them to prevent the more saintly among us from throwing something so freaky directly into the trash.

Seitan Nuggets

[Makes about 18 nuggets]

  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 1-3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 cups vegetable broth, separated
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, and seasonings.
  3. In a separate glass or bowl, combine 1 cup broth and soy sauce.
  4. Pour vegetable broth mixture into dry ingredients. Mix well until an elastic dough forms.
  5. Form 18 nuggets from the dough and place into a glass baking dish (or two).
  6. Pour remaining broth into dish(es) and bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove pan from the oven, flip over seitan nuggets, and return dish to the oven.
  8. Bake another 15 minutes.
  9. Store seitan in the fridge, covered with more broth to maintain soft chewiness.

[I have to thank Elise for the inspiration, as it was she, the Hungry Hungry Hippie, who taught me all about this freaky , creation last fall, and making me feel ready to tackle it for the first time on my own.]

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Parita @ myinnershakti February 10, 2012 at 9:02 am

I love your projects! I can probably relate to your stepmom’s cooking mantra more but give you major props for this! I can see why you’re a teacher now…love it!

teabagginit February 10, 2012 at 10:08 am

wow, i’ve seen them poached but never baked like that (although baking in a small amount of liquid is almost like poaching, isn’t it?) i was just reading my millennium cookbook last night (yup, i read cookbooks before bed) and i came across a seitan recipe that called for grated apple and fennel seed that’s supposed to taste like chicken apple sausage. i don’t like sausage, so i might leave out the fennel seed but i am intrigued, nonetheless! (ps, nonetheless is one of my favorite words) :)

Erica February 10, 2012 at 10:36 am

I had no idea you could home make this! How cool!!!

Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin February 10, 2012 at 12:04 pm

I’ve been wanting to make seitan for almost 2 years (ever since I first discovered what it was) but I keep on putting it off because I think it’ll be too hard. You make it look SO easy though! I can’t wait to try it now! :)

Claire @ Live and Love to Eat February 10, 2012 at 12:46 pm

I’ve only ordered seitan out in restaurants – it looks do-able at home though!

Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers February 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm

I totally want to try that. I’ve never seen a recipe for it before. I’ve heard of seitan, but I have yet to try it.

Hannah@mindrunningwild February 10, 2012 at 3:03 pm

You’re so my favourite. Always writ with wit my friend.
I proper laughed out loud when I read the cleaver link you had to the seitan recipe!
I love seitan and these seem super simple. I’ve always wondered how you actually made it and here it is smartly spelled out for me. When I’m back state side, I’m going to produce some vital ingredients like these and step over to the dark side 😉

R February 10, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Okay, is it sad that I’d never heard of seitan prior to this expose?

Kristina February 10, 2012 at 9:07 pm

awesome possum!!

while eating a lot of seitan makes me feel like I’ve been cavorting with Satan, I do love the stuff… and a couple weeks ago I learned how to make it in a cooking class! we boiled ours first, similar to baking in broth, I suppose. it was fun to play with and stretch into “cutlets” – ew, I don’t know why I don’t like that word…

but I like it more than chicken 😉

Jenee Libby March 13, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Love seitan! Always buy it premade in Asian markets….now I can make it at home, thanks!

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