It has a funny name, or should I say, a scary one. Seitan, pronounced Say-tahn, is a kind of wheat gluten. I heard the real spelling was also Satan but I guess people changed it overtime for what may be obvious reasons?
Seitan does have a quirky name and vegans like to poke fun at it all the time. At vegan festivals and fairs, you wouldn’t miss at least one vendor selling a sticker, t-shirt, magnet, or pin that says “Praise Seitan”, “Seitan Rules”, etc.
In a way, the slogans ring true. We vegans do love our Seitan because it brings a different kind of texture that soy doesn’t deliver sometimes. For example, when I went to Seattle for my birthday last year, my friend treated me out at a trendy vegan restaurant called Plum Bistro. And much to my surprise, I spotted steak on their menu. I was skeptical but thought, “hey why not?”. And after a wonderful meal for a vegan birthday girl, I considered their Seitan Steak one of the best vegan dish I have ever had-and I’ve eaten TONS of scrumptious vegan food in my more than three years of the lifestyle!
The steak was juicy, tender, fatty and flavorful. The chef might have squeezed a little bit of lemon in the sauce because I tasted some acidity that perfectly complimented the savory salty of the dish. But to clarify, it didn’t taste like a T-Bone cow steak; I didn’t think it was trying to. The Seitan Steak was king in its own right. Plus, it was cruelty-free, so yes, I shall praise Seitan indeed! :P The dish was unforgettable I had to order it again when I came back to Seattle this year. The photo below was taken from my second visit.
Cruelty Free, Healthy, and Delicious: Seitan Steak!
Most people I know would dismiss vegan food as only tofu and plants. Hopefully, they’ll soon realize that there are so much more to it. Aside from tofu, our meat substitutes vastly include mushrooms, tempeh, yams, and of course, seitan.
I do have a confession though; the irony to this is in my more than three years of cruelty-free cooking, I still hadn’t made a Seitan dish!
That is, until my boyfriend and I challenged ourselves to an Iron Chef-like competition with Seitan as the main component.
The timer started ticking and the game was on! Chris and I rummaged through our groceries as we attempted to maximize the hour allotted to prepare and cook; the pressure was mounting. The competition would have been funner if we had other people as judges but the Iron Chef idea was a last minute thing so we instead relied on ourselves to (honestly) judge each other’s dish.
With the meaty characteristics of Seitan, I immediately thought, stew! Apritada stew to be exact.
Unlike cooking beef or chicken Apritada, the vegan version should only take about 30-40min depending on the serving size.
INGREDIENTS (Makes 4 servings)
- 1 pack of Seitan (available at most health, grocery stores)
- 2 pcs potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 pcs tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 pound or 1 small pack button mushroom, halved
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
- 2-3 tbsp sweet relish
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 4-6 pcs bay leaves
- 1/4 pound fresh green beans, halved
- 1 stick of carrot, peeled and chopped
- 3 tbsp cooking oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- kalamata olives (not really Filipino but I love putting them in my Apritada)
- Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat.
- Sautee the garlic, onion and tomatoes.
- Add the potatoes. Simmer until potatoes are tender.
- Add the red bell pepper, bay leaves, and carrots. Simmer for about 3 min.
- Add the green beans, mushrooms, olives, tomato sauce, and sweet relish. Add salt and pepper to taste. Adjust sweet relish to taste.
- Add Seitan and simmer until boiling. You’re done!
Chris went for the classic steak marinate to create his own version of Seitan Steak. I can”t remember exactly what he did but it involved tons of butter, special spices, and some steak rub. I still have to ask him for the recipe.
Chris' rendition of Seitan Steak
Time was up and we served each other our respective dish. Aside from the main entrees, we also whipped up some Arugula salad and vegan Caprese salad in the hour we allotted for ourselves.
Deliberation time and Chris said he found the use of Seitan most appropriate in the stew and the starch ingredients went well with the sauce. He said he also like the the component of sweet relish to the dish, adding a sweetness and a lil bit of tart to the sauce. On the other hand, he commented that the sauce could be made thicker. I realized maybe I could have added a tablespoon of tomato paste.
Okay, my turn: his steak carried the perfect spice and marinate. The butter brought out the fatty flavor in every bite. My only concern was it was little dry. Maybe if he added some sauce on top or something on the side that would have played with the texture of the steak.
All in all, it was a good challenge. I couldn’t wait to try more Seitan in my cooking. Oh the possibilities! Seitan in Bistek, Tocino, Mechado, Morcon, Kaldereta, etc. Stay tuned for more recipes blog posts here on Astig Vegan!
And speaking of Kaldereta, my other AstigV, TJ, knows how to whip up some mean pot of Kaldereta!
TJ's Seitan Kaldereta
TJ deserves some kind of award or something for her creation. I recall when TJ & I sold our food at a mini-fair, her pot of Kaldereta was gone within 15 minutes!