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Gluten Free Gluten!

Posted Nov 08 2008 10:03pm 2 Comments

It looks like seitan. It smells like seitan. It almost tastes exactly like seitan.

But, it’s not!

Vegetarians and vegans alike are all well familiarized with seitan AKA wheat meat. It is the filler in tofurkey, it is the secondary meat substitute to tofu with the third being quorn. There are various recipes calling for gluten meat, gluten balls, and gluten chunks which essentially all refers to seitan. Where did it all began? Who created the seitan, the holy vegetarian alternative meat? As tofu originated in China and Tempeh in Indonesia, we again turn to Asia for the creators of the fabulous meat alternative. The reason being that China and Asia in general seems to unearth all of these meat substitutes is due to the population of Buddhists. In fact seitan, or wheat gluten balls rather, is an ingredient in a traditional Buddhist’s Delight. If you have a large Asian supermarket near your house - as I once had - you can see the cans of ‘mock duck’ or ‘mock orange beef’ which have seitan as the mock meat. Now as convenient as this may be to the wheat-allergen-free vegetarian/vegan, it’s not essentially healthy because the oil content is sky high. I actually believe traditionally prepared Peking Duck is less oily than the canned Mock Peking Duck!

I, being one amongst those who were vegetarian and ever since being diagnosed have re-added meat to their dietary allowances (there are many out there), still miss seitan. There wasn’t anything nutritional about it and there weren’t any health benefits - but it was good. To a celiac, however, eating seitan is a death wish.

So after much thought, much contemplation - I have come to a conclusion and an answer to the seitan longing within which turns out to be the greatest oxymoron ever. I give you, gluten free seitan. The essential component as opposed to vital wheat gluten is a combination of rice flour, tapioca starch, and garbanzo flour. In India, garbanzo bean flour is made into dumplings for various curries or dishes. Rice flour is made into a variety of baked goods, dumplings, and coatings for items throughout all Asia. Tapioca starch is a starch drawn from yuca or cassava is used in African entrees. So combing these three, I made the base for the seitan. There are a few kinks needing extracting which I assume is the liquid content requiring an increase; however, it tasted exactly like the seitan - I swear! I’m still running tests to see if the ‘non-wheat-meat’ can withstand various cooking techniques with more pressure and stress. So far, it passed the stir fry test.

Celiac vegetarians/vegans, I bring you hope and happiness! The flavors can be adjusted. Simply use an all purpose seasoning and vegetable broth for a more tasty-meat like substitution. I followed the method of the baked seitan since I was leery on boiling it and I never liked boiled seitan anyway. It always appeared slimy to me.

Gluten Free Seitan AKA The Non-Wheat Meat
½ bean flour
½ rice flour
¼ tapioca starch
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
Paprika
Cumin
Pepper
Dehydrated onions

1/3 cup water or stock
¼ cup. Ketchup or tomato paste
2 tbsp dairy free margarine
2 tbsp Braggs

If you freeze your flours, make sure they all come to room temperature before you begin. Stir together the flours, starch, and yeast with spices. Make the usual well and add the margarine, ketchup or tomato paste, water or stock and Braggs. Stir to combine. You should begin to obtain a pie dough like state. If it feels too dry then add a bit more water.

Preheat your oven to 350.

Knead for 2 to 3 minutes then let it rest for 5. Shape as desired - roll, flat, etc. and cover with oiled or nonstick tin foil. Bake for 15 to 30 minutes. If a crisp exterior is desired, remove the dough from the oven early and finish baking uncovered.
Let cool and savor the pleasure of seitan - sort of - once again!
Comments (2)
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Melissa, it is most likely cups, given the proportion of other ingredients.
there are no measurements beside the flours. Cups? lbs?  can you clarify?
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