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Old 08-25-2014, 01:05 PM   #1
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Seitan came out rubbery. Advice?

I made my first attempt at cooking seitan yesterday. Specifically, I made a vindaloo (Indian dish) with seitan instead of meat.

The seitan came out a little rubbery.

I used Arrowhead Mill's Vital Wheat Gluten to make the seitan, using vegetable broth to cook the seitan as instructed. This meant letting the seitan cook for about an hour.

I then made the vindaloo sauce, marinated the seitan with the vindaloo, and let it sit for about 30 minutes before cooking the seitan and vindaloo for about 20 minutes.

The result was a rather rubbery seitan (though the vindaloo sauce turned out nice).

The first thing that occurs to me is that rather than cooking the wheat gluten into seitan, and then cooking it again in the vindaloo, I should have just marinated the wheat gluten in the vindaloo, and then cooked it (as would have been done with meat).

IIRC, the seitan was pretty good after it had come out of the vegetable broth, but admittedly I didn't taste test it enough.

Any thought/opinions?

First time making seitan, first time making vindaloo, and first time posting here, so any help is really appreciated!

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Old 08-25-2014, 01:14 PM   #2
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I hate to say it, but isn't seitan supposed to be somewhat rubbery? Most mock duck that I've had in restaurants has that kind of consistency.
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Old 08-25-2014, 01:25 PM   #3
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Ive made seitan a dozen or so times in the past. It usually starts out rubbery, but after boiling it for an hour or so, it kinda becomes more of a spongy texture ( with some rubbery-ness to it, if that makes sense). What Ive noticed with home made seitan, is the best texture is when it is either room temperature or slightly warmer. When it is too hot, it is more spongy, and too cold , more rubbery.

What Ive also noticed about homemade seitan, is that the consistency is not as good as the commercial stuff. Not sure what secrets they are keeping from me, but Ive never been able to get the same texture they do. It also has a 'seitan taste' no matter what sauce or marinade you use, which annoys me.
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Old 08-25-2014, 03:55 PM   #4
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Welcome to D.C.!

This article might help you narrow down the reasons for rubberiness. (is that a real word? )
Why is My Seitan Rubbery?
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Old 08-26-2014, 10:06 AM   #5
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Thanks guys!

@Steve Kroll - The seitan I've had in restaurants or Whole Foods (like mock chicken) was less rubbery than this, so I do think I'm doing something wrong. :)

@larry - I suspect the same thing about the homemade vs. commercial. Figure it can't be that easy...must be something "secret".

@hoot - Thanks, that link helped! I'm going to look into the seitan recipe. Mine was very straightforward, so maybe oil will help. Also going to check out steaming the seitan instead of simmering.
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Old 08-26-2014, 08:19 PM   #6
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My recipe too was simple and straight forward.
But Im sure there is some commercial ' secret'

I see you're from Philly, any suggested good Vegetarian Restaurants you can recommend in Philly ??
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Old 08-27-2014, 02:09 PM   #7
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Larry - Yes, great vegetarian restaurants in Philly! Are you vegetarian or vegan? There are a few great vegan places I can think of right away (not sure if a newb can post external links so I won't for now):

Vedge - High end, must make reservations. Good for special occasions.

HipCityVeg - Sort of a take out cafe, but everything is amazing.

Charlie Was a Sinner - From the same owner as HipCityVeg, but an upscale bar/lounge. All plant-based food and cocktails.

Veggie Lovers - Chinese restaurant in Chinatown. No ambiance at all, but absolutely amazing food. Can't say enough good things about this place!

Were you thinking of a specific cuisine or type of food? Meanwhile, lots of bars/restaurants in town have veg and vegan items on their menu. Off the top of my head:

Memphis Taproom - great vegan cheeseteak.

Falls Taproom - Great vegan wings. Also, not vegan but vegetarian, a buttermilk friend seitan sandwich that is killer.

Royal Tavern - The vegan Sloppy Joe is perfection.

As to seitan recipes, I've been digging around and have found a few alternate recipes for seitan that are more colorful. Vegetarian Times has one that uses some other ingredients, including nutritional yeast that I suspect affects the consistency.

Also, stopped by Whole Foods and checked out some prepackaged seitan. List of ingredients definitely shows some other flavors added in.

Finally, as I read the cooking instructions on those packages, they all seem to say that the seitan is already cooked, is ready to eat, and should only be warmed, not cooked again. So my rookie mistake was probably to cook the seitan twice that could explain the rubbery consistency.
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Old 08-27-2014, 03:54 PM   #8
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Thanks for the recommendations.
Lived in Philly years ago, and have been visiting 2 - 3 times a year ever since.

As far as specific cuisines, Im open to try anything as long as vegetarian. I'm kinda addicted to Chinese Vegetarian Hot and Sour soup. I've tried making at home dozens of times, but whatever it is they are doing, Im not :)

Im vegetarian , but I eat at vegan places too.
Some of my favorite restaurants were Singapore and Kingdom of Vegetarians ( mostly for their Vegetarian Hot and Sour soup), and I was told Charles Plaza also has great Hot and Sour soup, but to my disappointment, I was down there this past May ( I was going to do a Hot and Sour soup run ,and get vegetarian hot and sour soup from all the restaurants I knew of), and unfortunately, the above 3 were all closed. We wound up eating at Veggie Lovers, which was good. I will be sure to check out the ones you mentioned next time we are in town.

And about the seiatan, its possible it could have been the reheating that affected the consistency. Ive always liked Seitan consistency better warm, than hot. But Im sure it varies by the brand.
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