Seitan is wheat gluten which is widely used by vegetarians as substitute or as an ingredient of various recipes. It is high in protein and almost does not contain fats. At the same time, it is a low-carb product. You can cook various dishes with if for breakfast or dinner. Being rather healthful in general, it is not good for those who are intolerant of gluten. You probably know the concerns as to its negative effects but this is true only for some of us while in general it is good. So, there are the pros and cons of including seitan in your ration. Before we understand those reasons, let’s get to the bottom. What is it made of?
What is Seitan?
This vegetarian alternative to animal protein is made of wheat seeds, water, and various seasonings changing its taste. The production process is rather simple. The wheat flour with any seasoning like ground garlic or ginger is mixed with soy sauce and sesame oil. All the components are stirred in a proper way. That’s it – you get a gluten dough which should be blended thoroughly to remove any air pockets. Here we have seitan. It can be arranged in the shape of rolls or so called sausages which are cut into pieces and boiled in broth or fried in a skillet over the medium heat during about fifteen minutes. This is the common recipe which is very simple.
Why is it popular?
Seitan is not new thing in the world cuisines. Though its place of origin is Japanese where it appeared 50 years ago in one macrobiotic diet. We should say that this food was known in Asia at least 15 centuries ago. Now it is regarded as the health food and recommended for people who refuse eating meat and prefer easy-processed foods and plant-based diets. Having stringy it should be chewed carefully but this peculiarity does not take much from the pleasure. And the fact that it is a fairly good substitute for meat makes this meal perfect. When you prepare the dough, you are expected to rinse wheat flour dough to remove all fiber and starch so that only pure protein is left.
The mass is elastic and sticky like clay. Thus, the carbs turn to be protein in the form of gluten. Even if you do not follow the requirements to prepare this dough and eat a simple slice of wheat bread you will get about 8 g of protein with this meal. Are you surprised? That is why seitan is so popular. The grains contain protein. So when we buy gluten-free products, we consume carbohydrate mostly. The wheat gluten was widely used by Buddhists and that is why it became a part of diet for vegetarians. It is just as Tofu which is made of soy protein.
How to cook it?
The product is very versatile. You can boil the dough or bake it. Make noodles of it or marinate the stuff and add to the salads. You can replace soy protein with it for any reasons. But remember that if you suffer from gluten sensitivity this food is not for you. It almost has no taste and flavor that is why you can use any seasoning to cook the dish of seitan. By the way to find out more about this thing, visit Chinese or macrobiotic restaurant. There you should find the dishes made of it.
And you can cook it at home buying the ready seitan at the nearest grocery store. It should be marketed on the shelves where tofu or other vegetarian foods are stored. In Asian grocer you can find a great range of products: strips, crumbles, or patties. Usually, you are offered to heat them up and enjoy. Serve them as a separate food or add to salads where chicken or beef should be.