Seitan, also called “wheat meat,” “wheat gluten,” or simply “gluten” is originally from Asia, is a common meat substitute for vegetarian dishes. Seitan is a Japanese word which can be roughly translated to mean “made from protein”. Unlike many meat substitutes, seitan is not soy derived but made entirely of wheat gluten.
Wheat gluten is a highly allergenic protein that is naturally found only in small amounts in wheat-based products. Seitan is essentially a dough made with this vital wheat gluten, a high-protein wheat flour, and liquid. The dough can be rinsed or poached to become a chewy meat substitute that can be added to many different dishes.
Seitan is high in protein and essential amino acids. It’s made with whole wheat flour and cooked in a kombu and soy sauce broth to give it flavor. It is a good source of some vitamins and minerals. A four-ounce serving of seitan supplies between 6 and 10 percent of the U.S Reference Daily Intake of vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and iron.
Because it is comprised of pure gluten, seitan is both protein- and calorie-dense. A single serving of seitan contains a whopping 36 grams of protein, beating both tofu and tempeh. It is also incredibly versatile and fantastic for mimicking the many textures of meat.
Seitan can be prepared by hand using either whole wheat flour or vital wheat gluten and is made by rinsing away the starch in the wheat, leaving a high-protein gluten behind. It has been a staple food among vegetarian monks of China, Russian wheat farmers, peasants of Southeast Asia, and Mormons.
Nutritionally, seitan is a powerhouse. In both quantity and quality, the protein in seitan is similar to that in beef. Sirloin steak and seitan both supply approximately 16 grams of protein per 100-gram (3.5 once) serving, or about 25 percent of the U.S. Reference Daily Intake. This is twice as much as an equal amount of tofu and 40% more than two medium eggs.
Although unseasoned seitan, raw wheat gluten, is low in one essential amino acid, lysine, this is easily offset by cooking it in soy sauce-seasoned broth, or by combining or serving it with lysine-rich foods such as beans.
A 3-ounce portion of seitan contains 2.5 to 4 grams of carbs, 1 to 2 grams of fiber, 0 to 2 grams of fat and 21 grams of protein. The publication “Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010″ says that including alternative sources of protein in place of your usual meat and chicken can help improve the nutritional quality of your diet by providing nutrients that promote health. Seitan is low in fat and provides a source of fiber, making it a good choice for heart health.
Cautionary note: Seitan — especially the ready-made varieties — can be high in sodium. However, this does not apply to seitan that you make at home by yourself. That will typically have a low sodium count.
A 3-ounce portion of ready-made seitan may contain 170 to 320 milligrams of sodium. Too much sodium in the diet increases blood pressure and risk of heart disease. “Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010” recommends limiting sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams a day or less than 1,500 milligrams if you already have high blood pressure.
Why Is Only Wheat Used?
Wheat is the only one whose endosperm protein interacts to form a gluten strong enough to bind together into a tight mass. Gluten is both plastic and elastic; that is, it will both change its shape under pressure and tend to assume its original shape when pressure is removed. It is this elastic and plastic property of wheat gluten that is utilized during the seitan making process.
How Is Seitan Made?
To produce Seitan, wheat or spelt grains are milled and mixed with water to make a dough. This dough is rinsed several times in order to extract the starch, leaving almost pure protein. The Seitan is then cooked in a flavourful broth and is ready to eat. Its flavour and texture are similar to that of poultry, and it can be used for a wide range of preparations: as an escalope, in pieces, grilled, marinated, slow-cooked or fried.
How To Make Seitan At Home
Seitan is easy to make at home using simple ingredients, however you must be careful while making it as the texture might be compromised if you’re not careful. Here are a collection of seitan recipes and basic seitan recipe for you.