When you’re cutting back on meat, finding a replacement that still satisfies your craving for those savory flavors and textures can be tough. In spite of an abundance of plant-based meat options on the market today, some of which that are nearly indistinguishable from the real thing, it is not within everyone’s budget to pick up a package of something premade every single week. Nor does everyone have access to other plant-based options, like canned jackfruit, which makes a great substitute for pulled pork when cooked just right. What’s a meat lover who’s cutting back on meat (while balancing their bank account) to do? Well, you can make your own – and it’s totally easy.
Meet seitan — a plant-based meat that can be made from vital wheat gluten or bread flour. It may be new in the Western world, but this stuff has been a part of vegetarian Buddhist diets in China and Japan for centuries — yes, we’re a little late to the game. If you’ve ever ordered the scarily realistic vegetarian meat option at an Asian restaurant, then you’ve probably already tried seitan. The recipe below was developed by Mexico City-based food blogger/biomedical engineer Azucena Noriega, from the same kitchen that blessed us with a recipe for Cashew Mozzarella That Melts Like the Real Thing. Here, Noriega kneads bread flour and water together until the dough becomes glutinous and meat-like, then simmers it in vegetable broth with fresh garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and kombu seaweed. The result is a “cutlet” that looks like meat, has a texture like meat, and has the same savory, umami flavor that we often crave when we’re missing meat.
No, your eyes are not deceiving you – this is made from plant protein.
Not only is Noriega’s recipe easy to achieve, it can act as a base to other seitan recipes. In other words, you can slice and serve it as is, or use it to make recipes like Seitan “Beef” and Broccoli, Buffalo Seitan Wings, and even “Chicken” and Waffles that could fool even the biggest meat eater’s taste buds.
If you’re trying to cut back on meat, then we highly recommend trying the Food Monster App (available for both iPhone and Android). This recipe app features over 8,000 vegan recipes, has meat-free options that taste just like the real thing.
Lead image source: How to Make Basic Seitan