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Praise the Seitan!

Here's a basic recipe for making tasty Seitan (glutein of wheat) – healthy food meant as a substitute for meat so it's suitable fore vegans also.

I hosted a couchsurfer from Malta this Autumn and I prepared seitan with mashed potatoes for us to enjoy. He was so delighted about it and asked me to send him the recipe after I had translated it. So here is the recipe for you to give it a try – and maybe even be pleasantly surprised ;}

I prepare seitan every now and then as I find it to be a great alternative not only for meat but also for tofu which I usually use for food. Yup, you've guessed it right - I'm a vegetarian :)

1 kg plain wheat flour
7 dl water
1 1/2 l water
1 big onion sliced
3 cloves of garlic sliced
1 dl soy sauce
1 vegetable flavour bouillon cube
2 tbsp fine sugar
1 tbsp spirit vinegar (strong clear vinegar)
2 bay leafs
For frying
1/2 dl crushed nuts or seeds
1/2 dl plain wheat flour
margarine, butter or oil

1. Mix the flour and water into a dense dough. Knead the dough at least 5 minutes until it begins to feel elastic and silken.
2. Lift the dough ball on the table and run cold water into the bowl. Move the dough ball into the water and leave it there for 20 minutes.
3. Pour the water off and run hot but not burning water into the bowl. Knead the dough carefully under water until it becomes white as wheat starch dissolves off. Pour the water off.
4. Run cold water over the dough and keep on kneading the dough. Be gentle. When water becomes white again pour it off and run hot water into the bowl.
5. Keep on kneading the dough in turns under hot and cold water. If the dough feels loose or degradable change the water temperature as radically as possible. You can also put the dough on a sieve and let the excess water run off.
6. Continue the process until water becomes clear and wheat starch doesn't dissolve off anymore. Active kneading process takes about half an hour. End result is a seitan ball of the size of two fists.
7. Make the broth. Boil all the broth's ingredients in a pot. Broth may taste fairly salty.
8. Cut the seitan ball into half and lift the pieces into the broth. Let the seitan boil slowly for 40 minutes.
9. Lift the seitan pot with its broth to cold water to cool it down quickly. Keep the seitan in its broth in the refrigerator and use within one week.
10. Cut the other one of the cold seitan balls into thin slices. Turn the seitan pieces once more in the broth.
11. Mix the crushed nuts or seeds with wheat flour on a plate and turn the seitan pieces on the mixture.
12. Fry the seitan pieces on a hot frying pan on oil until crispy and brown from the both sides. Serve for example with mashed potatoes and mushroom sauce.

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
Ilkley West Yorkshire
Interesting recipe Ville, where does it originate from? Can you describe the taste as it seems like an awful lot of work.
Sue my wife is vegetarian and if I go through all that and she doesn't like it......
If you put that sort of dedication into your sax playing then you won't go far wrong.

Ville K.

Hi Andrew,

Seitan is originating from Asia and it’s popular especially in Japan and China. Seitan has a texture which is more similar to meat than tofu is.

Ready made seitan is also sold in organic stores but making this delicacy is easy to do by yourself. All it takes is patience, wheat flour and many buckets of water.

The dough, which is made out of flour and water, is knead in turns under cold and hot water so that the wheat starch dissolves into water. After half an hour of soaking and kneading the dough will be half the size smaller than it was in the beginning. The outcome is pure glutein which looks like Wrigley's Hubba Bubba chewing gum that has been chewed way too long. Doesn’t that sound very promising ;}

Dough ball is then boiled in salty broth, and look, the end result is a firm ball of seitan.

You can make endless variations of the broth and also seitan. The use of ginger, chili, lemon grass or lemon peel give the seitan an asian nuance. Using onion, pimento and bay leafs gives the seitan a touch of grandma’s old fashioned meatballs.

Seitan should be maintained in its broth and used within one week.

Wheat glutein is suitable for whatever firm tofu is also used. The safest way is to aim at a crispy and salty end result. It’s definitely great when you cut the seitan into slices and turn them on soy sauce and fry on the pan in oil until crispy and brown. Yummy :)

Andrew, I bet you’re wife would appreciate it if you’d offer her seitan which is done carefully following the recipe through. I’ve served it many times for my family, friends and visitors and it has always gotten positive feedback. Definitely worth a try!

Ville K.

Good to hear that! Remember to give some feedback when you've tried it :)

I should add that seitan just gets better (tastier) if you leave it in it's broth overnight and enjoy it on the following day.


Seitan is much easier to make if you buy 'vital wheat gluten powder' which is the gluten with the flour already removed. It's difficult to get hold of in the UK: the best place is (P&P is obviously expensive as the products are heavy, but if you like making bread I suggest you buy some of their excellent Canadian flour, and their Cotswold Crunch flour is exceptionally good.)

And then to make seitan follow the recipe here:

You can keep the seitan in it's broth in the fridge for about 5 days, or you can freeze it.

There are loads of recipes for seitan (once you have made it) here : and here:

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