Come forth by these names: Leviathan! Beelzebub! Seitan!
January 14, 2019 2:00 PM   Subscribe

What is your favorite recipe or book of recipes for scratchmaking seitan and/or summoning the Dark Lord? I'd love to hear about other kinds of fake meat/demons. Also, suggestions for cooking with fake meat, since I'm new to all this.

I want to save money and have fun by making my own fake meats. I've read a few of the older threads on seitan, and they're all 6+ years old, some with broken links and stuff.

What are some recipes people use and like? Is there a book or website you'd recommend? Like I said above the fold, I'd love to hear about other things besides just seitan, although personally I can't stand the taste of tempeh (and I'm not sure you can easily make that from scratch anyway).

Also, what are some recommended ways to prepare stuff with fake meats? A lot of stuff seems to work 1:1 as a meat substitute, but other times I've noticed there's a strong flavor that can clash with the wrong ingredients. Is it just a matter of learning what clashes with what?
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
> I'd love to hear about other kinds of fake meat/demons

The singer for Behead the Prophet No Lord Shall Live is also a vegan chef and writes cookbooks. I have to presume he'll be one of the best sources out there for that particular chewy combination.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:35 PM on January 14, 2019 [9 favorites]

Field Roast has a cookbook. I haven't made that much out of it (I also don't have it right in front of me right now) and I found some of the recipes to be a bit involved, but not a in a bad way. It's also good at showing how to use meat subs (although ... mostly of the Field Roast brand).

Isa Chandra also has some good seitan & veggie burger recipes in her cookbooks. However, they're not just all about fake/sub meats, so that may not be what you're going for.
posted by darksong at 3:07 PM on January 14, 2019

My go to for seitan is Seitan Quick Mix by Harvest Direct.
posted by Splunge at 3:11 PM on January 14, 2019

I like Isa Chandra’s recipe for homemade seitan. Flavourful and delicious.
posted by sizeable beetle at 3:14 PM on January 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

La Dolce Vegan by Sarah Kramer has seitan making recipes, and other meat substitute type advice. It's our go-to.
posted by RedEmma at 3:51 PM on January 14, 2019

I don't know about the quality, but youtuber Vegan Black Metal Chef (Brian Manowitz) has The Seitanic Spellbook, a cookbook for sale through his website. Fits the theme of this post if not necessarily a good answer ot your question.
posted by Sunburnt at 4:43 PM on January 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

I recommend tempeh, cooked soybeans which are bound together into a cake and also rendered more digestible by a fungus. 40% protein, and very versatile and tasty.
posted by Agave at 4:45 PM on January 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

The thing I like about making seitan is winging it.

Take a cup or so of wheat gluten, add in some onion and garlic powder, possibly a little garbanzo flour, chia, flax, dried herbs, black pepper. A dash of paprika and turmeric can help with color. After all dry ingredients are mixed, cut in some oil (olive and sesame work well, but any kind will do), then add some soy sauce and slowly add hot water. The idea is to use just enough oil to help prevent sticking.

Knead it together adding water if it gets too dry, more gluten if too sticky. I like to knead it heavily to get that meaty mouth feel, making a disc and then acting like you are rolling a frisbee by the rim until you have to poke a hole and turn it inside out. Ideally it comes together in a sort of thick ropey ring. Cut that ring perpendicular to the grain to make ‘steaks’ about 1” thick, 1-2” inches diameter (can squish after cutting to get a more coin shaped slab)

Get your largest pan with lid simmering with about 1/2” water (or stock), add in the seitan leaving some room, loosely cover and braise for about an hour, turning occasionally and adding liquid if necessary.

At the end you should have seitan “chops” in gravy, ready to serve, store in fridge for a week, or freezer for a year. Happy to add more detail if desired, but this generates lots of good seitan for me, though each batch is a little different.
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:31 PM on January 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

Oh, and I find seitan works well with squash, with pasta, grilled with veggie kabobs, and with Indian food. I like to snack on it straight from the fridge too, ymmv. The main thing I would avoid is Americana meat+salad+starch type meals, seitan won’t quite carry that the way meats can.
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:39 PM on January 14, 2019

Finally: not scratch made but everyone interested in meat substitutes should try out TVP in a few different recipes. It’s dry, lightweight, shelf stable and cheap (fun fact, it was developed as a way to make use of the bits of soy that are left over after you press the oil out).

You can use TVP in any recipe that calls for ground beef by hydrating it in beef stock. You can of course make it vegan with veggie stock etc. I like to put it in burritos and use it instead of meat in pasta dishes, of the type you get at Italian diners with red checkered tablecloths.
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:45 PM on January 14, 2019

Hello, fellow Seitan-worshipper!

My two favorite seitan recipes I have on repeat are:
Barbecued Seitan Ribz
^I love these because grilling the BBQ-sauce-coated "ribz" gives it a super crispy edge, which is harder to get in veg cooking. It's not super rib-like in texture (I think? Never ate ribs much as an omni) but delicious and hard to screw up (just pick a BBQ sauce you like).

Hickory Smoked Veggie Turkey Lunchmeat
^I have made this one a few times as prescribed and it is delicious - tastes almost identical to the tofurkey turkey slices if you've had those. But slicing it really thin was a pain, so now I use this recipe but switch up the spices and use it for things like teriyaki "steak" (cook as prepared but chop into bite-size slices, saute in teriyaki sauce, serve with broccoli), or "shredded chicken" (chop roughly into small pieces, use in salads/tacos/etc). The texture is awesome (I think adding the tofu helps, as well as a combo of steam + oven) so it's worth the extra time it takes - usually ~30 minutes of prep time + ~2 hours of cooking, but you get A TON of seitan out of it. My steamer is too small so I usually split it into 2 loaves for steaming/baking, and end up freezing 1 loaf because it takes me at least a week to get through the first one.

I agree with others that seitan is pretty easy to wing as far as the ingredients, but I do recommend following a recipe (or at least documenting your experimentation) as far as how to cook it - there's a fair amount of variety in textures depending on whether you steam/saute/bake/some combination of methods, and you might like some more than others.

Someone else mentioned TVP (textured vegetable protein - it's basically dried soy pieces I think?) earlier, and I do recommend that if you've never used it before, though I wouldn't say it's especially meat-y. I like veggie chili with TVP: pick any bean-heavy veggie chili recipe you like and add at least 1 cup of TVP. Add additional water/broth/tomato sauce because TVP will soak up the liquid, but it takes on the flavor of the chili beautifully and adds a nice texture differential)

As far as other meat substitutes - Gardein chicken nuggets, Beyond Meat grilled chicken strips, and Morningstar black bean burgers are my trifecta of store-bought substitutes (so delicious). I haven't found a ground beef substitute I like - most of them are all too heavily italian spiced or mexican spiced or whatever, which might be what you've experienced with flavors clashing. I think that process is just trial and error of finding the right variety for the right dish. I also find that most direct copycat store-bought substitutes aren't as good on their own - like just eating plain beyond meat chicken strips on a salad is not great (IMO) because you can taste some kind of "off" flavor where it's trying to be chicken but not quite getting there. But covered in a sauce/mixed in a stir fry/added to a pasta dish/etc, store-bought brands have come quite a long way in replicating texture & flavor.
posted by jouir at 2:21 PM on January 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yeah, seconding 23skidoo: seitan sausages, steamed in tinfoil, are such awesome fun. It's like running your own little Field Roast factory.
posted by mumkin at 11:31 PM on January 15, 2019

Miyoko Schinner has this excellent truffled seitan recipe, and her cookbook Homemade Vegan Pantry has lots of really good fake meats!
posted by quatsch at 4:48 PM on January 16, 2019

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