First things first, I don't use as much water as the seitan recipe calls for. The first time I made it, I used what it told me to, and the "chicken" was spongy, or wet and chewy, or rubbery with pockets of water. Or all of the above. Bottom line, no good. Anyway, I made it again and cut back the water to 3/4 c (or sometimes just under 3/4 c) per cup of Vital Wheat Gluten. This made for a much better texture, more meat-like, and very very tasty. An addiction had begun.
Let me just say as a side note that the chicken-mock-stock from this recipe is amazing. It seriously smells like chicken, and I don't understand how it can do it that well. So make this, then make a mental note that you may not need to buy Imagine's No-Chicken Broth ever again. Also worth noting, I double this recipe EVERY time, for 2-3 adults and 1-2 kids. When doubled, I can make about 12 smallish cutlets (or a bunch of small "bites"), and I would say it is pretty damn close to 2 pounds of "chicken". We eat A LOT at dinner, since often I haven't had anything but coffee before dinner so I make it really count, so 2 cutlets is a minimum serving around these parts. And we like to have some a little while later too, and some for lunch if there happens to be any left the next day. What I'm saying is, if you make double, you'll probably not find any hanging around your fridge for very long. So here's my altered recipe for basic "chicken" in it's UN doubled form, so it will make about 1 pound of "meat":
Chicken Mock Stock
2 cups water
¼ cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons tamari
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried sage
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon celery seed
Combine all of the ingredients in a large saucepan and set aside while you make the wings.
Seitan or “Wheat Meat”
1 cups instant vital wheat gluten flour
around 3/4 cup water
In a medium bowl, stir together wheat gluten and water until completely combined. This comes together almost TOO quickly, so when you're adding the water to the gluten, add almost all of it, saving a tablespoon or so just in case there's some gluten powder that isn't getting wet and needs a splash more. Knead for about 3 minutes, or more- I haven't found more kneading to result in too tough seitan, I kinda like it tough, so make whatever "that's what she said" joke to yourself and laugh til your pants are wet. Moving on: Shape the seitan into a log, so maybe 4-5 inches long and 2-3 inches thick? Double batch is a 6-7 inch log and 3-4 inches thick. As always, keep your dirty comments to yourself. Start slicing it into rounds maybe 1/4" to 1/2" thick, size really doesn't matter here (unlike in real life, boys. ZING!), but DO keep in mind that these will expand while simmering, and though they shrink some after simmering, they will be bigger than when you made them, in the end. As always, keep your dirty comments to yourself. Work each cutlet a little, stretching and folding and forming and so forth, but remember, I don't mind some toughness, so maybe you shouldn't do this, or do it only a tiny bit. It's all about fine tuning to your own tastes. Bring stock to a boil. Place each cutlet into the stock carefully and give a stir. Reduce heat to a very slow simmer and cover pot with lid. Let simmer for 50-60 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes (or whenever you think of it or when the pieces have puffed up so much they look like they are going to jump ship and go audition for the movie "The Blob"), until broth has almost completely reduced (this never happens to me, there's always a ton of broth left and I just drain it off). If it doesn't, no worries. (Pieces will expand, but shrink back down SOME but not entirely.) Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 6 days (that seems like a long time to me, I give leftovers 4 days tops...), or the freezer for up to 6 months (I've never frozen this recipe and cannot say how it compares to fresh)
OKAY! Now you've got some chicken ready to be oven fried! Here's the vegan version, again- for 1 batch UN doubled seitan. If you double like I do, I will put in parenthesis what you will need to double, since some things you won't need more of, and sometimes you need less than they say, so just read the damn parenthetical advice:
- 1 TBL ground flax seeds stirred into 1/4 c water in a microwave safe small bowl (2 TBL ground flax in 1/2 c water)
- 2 cups panko (I think 2 cups was plenty for a double batch, so for a single batch you'll need less and just pour it out in small amounts, adding when you need more.)
- 1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour (this was PLENTY for a double batch, halve it for a single batch)
- 1/2 teaspoon(s) celery salt (1/4 tsp for SINGLE batch seitan)
- 1/2 teaspoon(s) garlic salt (1/4 tsp for single batch)
- 1/2 teaspoon(s) cayenne pepper (1/4 tsp for single batch)
- 6 small cutlets seitan
- 1/2 cup(s) canola oil (about 1 c for double batch, for sure)
--Microwave the flax/water for about a minute and a half, stirring half way through. Stir again when done, and set aside. It does thicken over time so you may need additional water later.
--Place a rimmed nonstick baking sheet on the lower rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
--Dust the "chicken" with the flour, then dip it in the "egg", and finally in the panko, pressing to help the breadcrumbs adhere. That's them all breaded there to the left.
--Pour the canola oil onto the hot baking sheet. Carefully dip the cutlets in the oil, being sure to coat both sides evenly, and set them on the baking sheet. Bake the cutlets for about 25 minutes, until they're golden and crispy, turning halfway through. Drain on paper towels. That's my beautiful babies on paper towels to the left, there.
1TBL dijon mustard
1 TBL whole grain/stone ground mustard
1TBL honey or agave nectar