I don’t eat a lot of seitan—the few prepared brands I’ve tried and recipes I’ve made were just okay, but not great—so I rarely think about or use it. However, when I received my latest issue of Bon Appétit magazine with this gorgeous cover photo, I instantly wanted to develop a seitan that I could marinate in their spicy glaze recipe, skewer and grill with similar results. After a few experiments with different flours, I found that cutting the vital wheat gluten with a blend of chickpea and whole wheat pastry flours yielded a soft yet sturdy texture which held up nicely on the grill. The thick, spicy and sweet reduced marinade clings beautifully to the seitan, producing a gorgeous caramelization around the edges while locking the smoky and salty flavors of miso, sesame oil and fermented black bean sauce inside. A quick brush of leftover marinade at the very end gives these skewers an extra spicy kick.
SAMBAL SEITAN SKEWERS
Yield 7-8 cups
for the seitan*
- 1 cup vital wheat gluten
- 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup chickpea flour (reduce to 1/4 cup if pan-frying instead)
- 1 cup cold vegetable broth
- 2 TB dark sesame oil
- 1 TB white or chickpea miso
- 1 TB fermented black bean sauce
- *the seitan may be made, simmered and stored in the broth until ready to grill.
for the simmering broth
- 6 cups cold vegetable broth
- several cloves of garlic, smashed
- 2 TB soy sauce
- 2 TB raw agave
- 1 cup of ice cubes
for the marinade (adapted from Bon Appetit, July 2013 edition)
To make the seitan
- Combine the flours together. Then, in a separate bowl, whisk together the rest of the seitan ingredients, then add it to the flour mixture. Knead in a Kitchen Aid mixer using the dough hook attachment or knead with your hands for one minute to form a cohesive ball of dough. Tear off small, jagged skewer-sized pieces and place to the side. (The pieces will double in size during simmering time.)
To make the simmering broth
- Combine the broth, garlic, soy sauce, agave and ice cubes in a medium-sized pot. Do not turn on the heat yet—you want the broth to be very cold when you add the seitan to it.
- Next, place enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a cast iron pan or any other non-stick pan. Heat the oil over medium heat. Place the seitan chunks in the pan and allow to brown on both sides. Transfer to a plate to cool.
- Drop the cooled seitan chunks into the broth. Bring to a very small simmer, then maintain that heat for about 45 minutes. Cover with a lid that allows some steam to escape during cooking time. Do not allow the broth to boil at any time—it will affect the texture, making it spongy.
To make the marinade
- Add all of the marinade ingredients in a saucepan. Toss the seitan chunks in the marinade, then thread onto metal or wood skewers. (If you are using wood skewers, soak them in water first for about an hour to prevent them from burning.)
- Now bring the leftover marinade to a small boil in a small saucepan, reduce the heat, and allow to simmer and thicken for 7-10 minutes.
- Grill the seitan, turning and basting often with the reduced marinade. Serve immediately, drizzling any extra sauce over the top.