This seitan recipe produces a meatless base product that I use for many dishes, including char-siu (roasted pork), sweet and sour pork, cashew chicken, chicken chop, and many more. Many people mentioned that they tried the flour-washed method, but they often get gummy and tough seitan. The secret to achieving a tender and juicy seitan lies in the cooking process.
Stove Top Cooking
I have tried cooking on the stovetop and gained success, but it required some monitoring. It’s crucial to ensure that the broth is barely bubbling and never simmering. Slow cooking (I use the instant pot slow cooking function as I don’t have a crockpot) has been the easiest in my small-scale experiments and achieved consistent success. This recipe also includes seasoning the tasteless seitan, and this has been our favorite.
Having tried a few homemade vegan bouillons, I found the Plant Power Couple‘s recipe my favorite; I replaced the Italian seasoning and thyme herb with oregano and parsley or whatever compatible herbs I have at home. I have also heard many good things about store-bought vegan bouillon, which could be a good option, but I have not tried any.
How To Make Tasty Washed Flour Seitan At Home
This seitan recipe produces a meatless base product that I use for many dishes, including char-siu (roasted pork), sweet and sour pork, cashew chicken, chicken chop, and many more. Many people mentioned that they tried the flour-washed method, but they often get gummy and tough seitan. The secret to achieving a tender and juicy seitan lies in the cooking process. I have tried cooking on the stovetop and gained success, but it required some monitoring. It's crucial to ensure that the broth is barely bubbling. I have found slow cooking (I use the instant pot slow cooking function as I don't have a crockpot) to be the easiest and achieve consistent success. This recipe also includes seasoning the tasteless seitan, and this has been our favorite.
Seasoning and slow cooking
Making the dough
Mix flour with water
Measure out 1500g of all-purpose flour into a large mixing bowl and add 825ml of water—mix flour and water with a spatula.Ingredients: 1500g all-purpose flour, 825ml water
Knead with hand
When it becomes too hard to mix the flour and water with a spatula, transfer the contents to a work surface (I use a kneading mat) and knead until you achieve a rough dough ball.
Rest intermittently to relax gluten
A trick to make kneading easier is to intermittently cover and rest the dough for 15 minutes before resuming kneading. Resting the dough helps to relax the gluten that eases kneading.
Roughly smooth dough
Stop kneading when the dough is roughly smooth.
Soak dough in water
Fill the mixing bowl with some water (preventing the dough from sticking to the bottom of the bowl) and drop the dough in. Fill more water until it covers the dough and rest for 1 hour. This step prevents the dough from drying out.
Washing the dough
Discard the water
Discard the water that is used to soak the dough.Equipment: strainer, two mixing bowls, and a mini washboard (optional, you can use your hands to repeatedly "squeeze" to wash out the starch).
The mini washboard
I make big batches of seitan each time, and the repetitive squeezing motion causes carpel tunnel syndrome. The idea of "washing" is to loosen the starch leaving behind the gluten (seitan). I have found that the washboard requires minimal strength and only requires rubbing the dough against the rippled surface.
Washing the dough
Using the washboard, keep rubbing the dough on the rippled surface and change the water when it becomes too milky. (You can make noodles out of the starchy water - you can find that recipe online - but I find that it's too much work, so I have not tried it)
Towards the end of the flour washing, the gluten will come together and form a gluten web - stringy looking. When there are no more white soft bits left, the washing is complete.
Strain and rest
Stack the strainer on a mixing bowl and transfer the seitan to the strainer. Cover to prevent drying out, and rest for an hour.
Seasoning the seitan
Add bouillon and seitan pieces
Add the vegan bouillon to the processor and coat small pieces of seitan with the bouillon - prevent the seitan pieces from sticking together while pulsing.Ingredients: 4 tbsp vegan bouillon (see notes for the recipe)
Pulse until the bouillon is well incorporated into the seitan.
Rest the seitan
Transfer the seitan into a strainer stacked on a mixing bowl and cover for about 20 minutes. The seitan will string back together.
Cooking the seitan
Saute to heat up the broth
Add the broth to the inner pot of the instant pot, and set the instant pot setting to saute for 15 minutes (time is unimportant, we only need to heat the broth). Start shaping the seitan while waiting for the broth to heat up.Ingredients: 2 packs of vegetable broth about 64oz in total
Shaping the seitan
You can shape the seitan into a long oblong shape to make the chicken chop, or smaller chunks for stir fry dishes like sweet and sour pork. The seitan will be sticky, so I moisten my fingers and the cutting mat before handing the seitan.
*For chicken chop, I recommend stretching the pieces thinner.
Drop in the seitan pieces
Slowly drop in the seitan pieces; the heated broth helps prevent the pieces from sticking together.
Slow cooking using the instant pot doesn't require the sealing lid; any glass lid would do. Set the slow cooking function to "medium" for 2 hours.
If you are using a crockpot, make sure the temperature does not cause bubbling in the broth; it is too hot when it starts to bubble. Seitan cooked at high temperature is likely to come out gummy and tough.
Storing the seitan
When the instant pot is done cooking the seitan, dish out the pieces with the broth and let them cool down. Chill in the refrigerator overnight before freezing or using. You can use the seitan right away, but the seitan often tastes better overnight.
Freeze for later
I recommend using the vacuum sealing bags for freezing the seitan for future use. Vacuum bags reduce frost, which affects the safety and flavors of the food. The frozen seitan can be kept for up to six months.
- Vegan bouillon - you can use store-bought bouillon powder or make your own. I highly recommend Plant Power Couple recipe.