When it comes to vegetarian sources of protein, seitan is a chewy, dense, and satisfying choice for anyone who needs an alternative to soy. Seitan, made from wheat gluten, was developed in the early 1960s in Japan and first imported to the U.S. in the late 1960s. Wheat gluten, the solvent in wheat that gives bread its elasticity, is said to have originated in China as a way for the non-meat-eating observers of Buddhism to get their protein. The seitan is made through a process of kneading and rinsing until the starch is dissolved and proper consistency is attained. It is frequently used in "mock" meats such as mock turkey, mock chicken, and mock duck, due to its meatlike texture.
A four-ounce serving of seitan provides about 31 grams of protein and has no saturated fat or cholesterol. Wheat gluten itself has a low sodium content, though commercially prepared varieties tend to have about 100 grams of sodium per ounce.
This tangy recipe for a Sweet & Sour Seitan dish comes to us from VegWeb.com. Total prep time is only 30 minutes, and all ingredients should be easy to find at your local health-food store.
Sweet & Sour Seitan
Ingredients (use vegan versions):
1-2 packages of seitan, cut into bite-sized chunks
3/4 cup flour
2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup water
1 green pepper cut in chunks
1 red pepper cut in chunks
1 onion cut in chunks
1 can pineapple chunks
jar of sweet and sour sauce
Mix together flour, water, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda in medium bowl.
Stir seitan into batter until well coated.
Fry coated seitan in 2 inches of hot oil for 3 minutes or until golden brown.
Drain Seitan, keep it hot.
Combine green pepper and onion and sauté for 5 min. Add pineapple and sweet & sour sauce, let simmer for 15 minutes. Pour over seitan and serve with rice.
Preparation time: 30 minutes