A few weeks ago, I tried this recipe for seitan cutlets from vegan yumyum. Both Mr Thrifty and I really liked them, but I found them a tad “bouncy”, so the next time I made them (a couple of days ago), I substituted besan (aka gram flour or chickpea flour) for some of the wheat gluten.
This made the dough a lot softer, which on the plus side made it VERY easy to flatten into cutlets (it didn’t keep bouncing back), but also quite delicate until completely cooked. It was more difficult to turn the cutlets during simmering, but I was able to do so after they had firmed up enough.
EDIT: I now add a bit less water (revised amount in recipe below), so they are less delicate and easier to work with.
I also had to simmer them longer, about an hour instead of 20-30 minutes. Next time I may not reduce the amount of gluten quite so much, to make them a bit easier to work with.
Once they were cooked, I cooled them in the broth and then, to turn them into schnitzels, coated them with panko breadcrumbs and pan-fried them. They were soooo good, the texture was perfect! They were even better than the Fry’s Veggie Schnitzels we used to buy. (And with no strange ingredients like in the Fry’s product… I mean, “nature identical flavour”, what the heck is that? A new word for artificial flavour?)
I made a couple of other small changes. Since Old Bay seasoning isn’t available here, I subbed Himalayan salt plus some celery seed. I used regular soy sauce instead of low sodium. And, I used a chicken-style vegan bouillon cube in the simmering broth. All the salty things meant they were probably quite high in sodium, though we didn’t find them too salty.
|For the cutlets
|vital wheat gluten flour
|1 cup + 3 tablespoons
|gram flour (besan, chickpea flour)
|For the braising broth
|chicken-style veggie bouillon cube
|olive oil for frying
1. In a medium bowl, stir together the wheat gluten, gram flour, nutritional yeast and herbal salt until well mixed. Crush celery seed in a mortar and pestle, add to dry ingredients and mix again.
2. In a measuring cup, put the soya milk and soy sauce, then add water until it reaches the 180ml (3/4 cup) mark. Add the olive oil and whisk the mixture with a fork.
3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix well. The dough will be very soft. Plop it onto a cutting board, form into a rough ball, and cut into four pieces. Flatten each piece with your hand until it is about 1.2cm (1/2 inch) thick.
4. Meanwhile, put 2 cups water and bouillon cube in a deep-sided frying pan and bring to a simmer. When just simmering, stir to dissolve bouillon cube, then gently slide cutlets into the broth.
5. Cover and simmer cutlets for about an hour. Keep checking to make sure the broth does not come to a boil, it should be barely simmering. After about 40 minutes, the cutlets should be firm enough to turn over.
6. When the cutlets have firmed up (about 1 hour total cooking time), turn off the heat and let them cool slightly in the broth, then transfer to a storage container along with the broth, to cool completely.
7. Spread some panko breadcrumbs onto a plate. Take a cutlet from the marinade (make sure it’s moist from the marinade so the crumbs stick), place onto the plate and sprinkle more crumbs on top. Press the crumbs in well, then turn over and repeat. Gently shake off excess crumbs and prepare remaining cutlets the same way.
8. Heat some olive oil in a heavy frypan (I use cast iron). Fry schnitzels on each side until golden.
Makes four large schnitzels.