Accidental seitan

I had a mild panic tonight when I found myself accidentally cooking up a batch of seitan… Yikes! They all hate seitan. All that work and nobody was going to eat it.

I know lots of people love seitan, but my kids have been vegetarian/vegan pretty much all their lives, so they can’t stand anything that resembles meat in any way. Tofu and tempeh are fine, but seitan, TVP or any of the meat substitutes we’ve tried have usually been treated with great suspicion, picked at and pushed around their plates, and eventually end up hidden under their cutlery or quickly slipped into the bin after dinner.

Accidental cooking

Which brings me to the big question – how does a person end up accidentally cooking seitan…or anything else, for that matter?

Well, they have to be VERY distracted – I was dwelling on my envy of all the people going to see Isa, Terry and the Vegan Black Metal Chef at the Corner Hotel tonight. At the same time, I was watching the latest episode of Our Hen House TV (even better than the first) and, at the same time, everyone I know named Karyn/Karen started texting me at the same time, with invitations and pictures of cute babies I couldn’t ignore…OK there were only two people, but there were many texts, and by the end of it all, I’d lost my focus.

As a result, I realised I was working from the recipe NEXT TO the recipe I’d started on (i.e. seitan instead of chickpea cutlets)! But by that time, it was too late to turn back.

chickpea cutlets

These are the kind of chickpea cutlets I was MEANT to be cooking.

Good advice from my wise friends and family

At first I had a little panic. My mind was spinning, trying to come up with some way of serving seitan that everyone would eat. Then I remembered some wise advice from my sister about 25 years ago (I think this advice was actually given to her by another of our sisters):

Kids will eat anything if it’s flavoured with curry.

This goes alongside the wise advice from my friend Tricia, which is:

If you cover any old food with pastry, the family will think it’s special.

On this occasion, I decided to follow the curry advice.

It’s fun to make

The seitan itself was pretty fun and easy to make. Mix it all up, knead it, shape it, bake it in broth, drain it, slice it up and cook it. There’s something quite satisfying about the whole process.

pieces of cooked seitan

Some of the seitan, ready to be cooked in the curry. It looks a bit creepy and meaty, but it tasted pretty good to me.

Everyone loves a curry

I cooked it using Thai Gourmet Massaman curry paste (no shrimp in this brand) with coconut milk, along with the vegies left in the crisper: carrots, rainbow chard and spring onions.

I also fried corn in my cast iron pan and served brown rice, baby spinach and chopped avocado on the side. All those bits and pieces were all to distract them from the seitan, in the hope that the family wouldn’t realise what it was – and I think it worked.

curried seitan with corn, baby spinach and avocado

It all worked out in the end.

The verdict

After a vague suspicion that I’d served them ‘that fake meat stuff’, they all ate it quite happily. Curry is always a winner! But next time, I’m going to stick with the chickpea cutlets (Veganomicon).

This whole experience did leave me with an interesting thought though: Perhaps one day there will come a time when EVERYONE is so unfamiliar with meat eating that they all get queasy at the thought of eating anything that resembles it.

Our Hen House TV, episode 2: Lovely clothes and cute puppies

While we eagerly await the reports on the Corner Hotel show, the latest episode of Our Hen House is up today. It features gorgeous, kind and ethical clothes (Vaute Couture) and cute puppies (rescue dogs for adoption) – of course, it’s all in New York, so we can have none of it! Doh!

Our Hen House: Episode 2 from Brooklyn Independent Media on Vimeo.

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10 thoughts on “Accidental seitan

  1. Great save! Maybe it would be fun to have recipe mash ups where you just take a bit of each recipe on a page (would suit my sort of attention to recipes – I never manage to follow them). I can see why curry works because the flavour makes such an impact on our reaction – probably good to find that your family can eat seitan at a pinch – many possibilities now.

  2. I have yet to make seitan and I really want to at some point! Wow, that seitan in the curry looks super good! I think anything saucy and full of spices with the seitan tastes amazing!

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