Okay, so first of all, it’s pronounced “Saytan”, and secondly, what the heck is it??
Even though it may seem like the latest fad, Seitan has actually been around for a long time – perhaps even the 6th Century in China. The oldest reference we have to date is in a Chinese encyclopedia dating back to the year 535. Seitan was popularized by Buddhists or anyone looking to abstain from meat during that time period. It started appearing in Western Cultures around the 1800s. (thrivecuisine.com)
If you are looking for gluten-free, this is not the thing for you. Seitan is gluten-full. It is literally made from gluten flour that is extracted from wheat flour. Gluten is what gives bread texture and chew. By itself it creates something much more meaty in texture and mouthfeel than something like tofu. Like tofu, it is a medium for all kinds of preparations and flavors.
Now before you asked one the inevitable questions; “Why do people, who chose not to eat meat either for a meal or as a lifestyle, want to eat something that tastes like meat?” I cannot answer for everyone but I can tell you from my own experience and many folks I have served in my home and cafe the obvious answer; “Because meat is delicious!”
There are many reasons why someone may chose a plant-based meat alternative. Here are a few:
- Plant-based foods tend to be lighter and easier to digest.
- Plant-based meat alternatives offer options for more people.
- Many of us grew up with a classic diet that included lots of meat.
- Plant-based meat alternatives can offer something closer to what we grew up with without the meat.
- Did I mention that meat is delicious? At least I remember it to be.
I grew up in New Jersey, and still, to this day when I cross over the Tapenzee Bridge, I immediately want a cigarette, Roast Beef Sandwich, and a Genesee Cream ale. So, this is by way of saying, I have been vegan for over 10 years but I still crave many of the foods that I grew up with. Now, I make them without animal products and one of my go tos is seitan. Here are some of the things I make with seitan:
“Steak” and Ale Pie
Bahn Mi Chay