If you’re on the quest for vegetarian options, you may be interested in trying Seitan, a meat alternative made from wheat gluten. Seitan isn’t new; it’s been around for over two thousand years with origins in China. With its mild taste, chewy texture and high protein content, it’s a great substitute for meat. Like tofu, it’s really easy to season because it absorbs the flavors of the foods with which it is cooked. The best part is: Seitan is a cinch to make at home. The measurements don’t have to be exact. The dough’s resting period can vary from 1-3 hours and it’ll be just fine. In fact, I’ve left it in the fridge overnight and it seemed to be okay. It was a bit denser but tasted just fine. The recipe possibilities using Seitan are endless. Once you master how to make Seitan, let your culinary imagination run wild and replace it with the traditionally meat-filled dishes. In upcoming videos, I’ll share more recipes using Seitan and a few of my recipe creations.
Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks
You can season the dough if you’d like. Replace the water with vegetarian broth for more flavor. Optionally add soy sauce, seasonings or herbs.
I tried various tools to cut the raw seitan and the easiest way to cut cleanly is with a pizza cutter or a dough knife.
Use the cooked Seitan pieces within the week. Optionally, you can freeze them. Sometimes I’ll make several batches, divide them into smaller portions and freeze. Then when I need Seitan for my vegetarian days, I thaw a small portion and toss into stir frys, noodle soups, etc.
3/4 cup warm water
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
2/3 cup vital wheat gluten
Sift the vital wheat gluten.
Add warm water, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl and stir to dissolve. Add the sifted wheat gluten and stir quickly combining the gluten with the water. Fold the dough onto itself a few times and work in any remaining dry gluten. Knead gently for 1 minute working the dough together. Place in a small bowl or container. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 1-3 hours.
Cut dough into slices and then into smaller pieces.
Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Drop in seitan pieces leaving space in between so they don’t stick together. Boil until all pieces float to the top, approximately 2-3 minutes. Transfer to colander and allow to cool for a few minutes.
Heat a skillet over Medium High heat until hot. Add 1 Tbsp vegetable oil and coated the pan evenly. Place seitan pieces into the skillet leaving some room in-between. To prevent the pieces from sticking to the pan, move them around the pan during the entire cooking process. Cook each side until golden brown, approximately 2 minutes.
Yields: 8 oz
Thank you for your website and this Mi Can recipe. I made it for the first time last night and both hubby and I loved it. Your video was high-quality; your instructions, easy to follow; and your voice, calming like a yogi’s voice. I’m making more seitan this morning – maybe a broccoli seitan stir fry with steamed rice. I’ll put them in a thermo container and have a picnic lunch in the park later. In the future, I will attempt your other seitan recipes. Thank you for teaching me Vietnamese food, especially kind food like seitan. I am very grateful for your website. Your videography, website development, culinary and teaching skills point to a very gifted person. Keep up the good work.
Thank you for your kind words. I am happy to hear you are enjoying the recipes I am sharing. Happy Cooking!
Thank you for this recipe! Do you think freezing the seitan would be ok? I was thinking to keep some in the freezer for use as needed.
Hi Tiffany, it changes the texture a bit when freezing but worth a try if you’re curious. Good Luck!
How can this possibly be cooked after so short a time? Followed the recipe and it was raw in the middle ( golden brown in the outside)
What am I doing wrong?
Between the boiling and pan-fry it’s enough heat to cook the seitan thoroughly. I cut my seitan fairly thin. I recommend boiling longer next time if your pieces are larger. Let me know how that works for you. Good Luck!
Hello Chị Trang,
I tried your recipe earlier, I doubled the recipe but for some reason there were alotmof excess water left after the dough has formed. What am I doing wrong?
Did it affect the texture of the seitan? It’s common for some water to remain. You have to work the dough really fast to get as much water to absorb as possible.
What do you do if this happens? Should I discard the water and continue to the next step or start over from the beginning?
Additional info: I only read the written instructions, so I dropped the wheat gluten in all at once instead of a little at a time. I also used a container with a lid instead of plastic wrap; I didn’t want to add plastic to my food.
Hello chi Trang
Mine came out well, moist and chewy. How do I make a little more hardened ? Thanks. Tuan
If you would prefer a denser seitan, skip the baking powder. You can also add less water or more vital wheat-gluten. Enjoy!
What is the reason for covering and letting the seitan rest for few hours before cooking it?
Can I boil it immediately after the few rounds of kneading?
BTW, your recipes are very simple and precise. I LOVE them.
Is it a choice as to whether the seitan is boiled or fried or do you boil it first and then fry the pieces?
I typically boil the seitan first to cook it completely. The pan-frying is to give it a nice crust so it doesn’t stick so much when stir-frying. You can opt for just one cooking method if you’d prefer. Good Luck!
Does the temperature of the room matter while the seitan is resting? Mine doesn’t look like it’s puffing up.
Hi Michelle, the room temperature does not affect the resting seitan. This dough rises just slightly. It won’t double in size like bread dough. Hope that helps!
Hi Trang, is that mushroom oyster sauce you are using for the veg. stir fry sauce for your braised seitan + vegetables?
Also do you use sweetened or salted ground soya bean sauce?
Sorry, I can’t see the pic of ingredients clearly.
Thanks again, Anna.
I am using a vegetarian stir fry sauce which is made with mushrooms. The ground soy bean sauce is not labeled as ‘sweet’ or ‘salty’. (It’s made in Vietnam and is called ‘Tuong Cu Da’.) I would describe it as more salty than sweet. If you can only find a salted soy bean version use just half the amount, 1 Tbsp or add more sugar to balance the saltiness. Good Luck!