A couple of years ago I read a bunch of recipes for vegetarian/vegan holiday meal recipes, and made up my own (as usual) and this year I'll be doing it again, similar to what I did before, since it came out SO good. I do not normally attempt to make things taste like meat, I don't see the point in it, there are much better flavors, but we had meat eating company. My notes say on a 1-10 scale I gave it an 8.5. So here are my notes, for others to think on...
2 packages extra firm tofu
in food processor with:
2 sloppy tsp brewer’s yeast
2 tsp chicken bouillon powder
small amount poultry seasoning
1 splash balsamic vinegar
1 splash soy sauce
bit of turmeric for color
bit of beet juice for color
about ½ cup coconut oil
mix till blended and no lumps
about 1 cup gluten
about ½ cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp chicken bullion powder
about ¼ of the dry in a bowl, mix in wet until it just barely holds together in marble sized lumps, put into another bowl, same with next ¼ ... trying to keep it from being kneaded, so it doesn't become a brick.
Take the marble sized bits, lay them in rows on cheesecloth, barely roll them together, leaving air pockets. I made a block, then cut it into 6 slices, and restacked them, like I do biscuit dough. Shape to the steamer, wrap the cloth, steam until solid. I used the big pressure canner, with the rectangle deep fryer basket as the steamer, did not seal the lid.
To serve I sliced, marinated in glazes and baked.
Orange, ginger, honey
Butter, poultry seasoning, sage, celery seed, chicken bouillon
Butter, fresh garlic, onion powder, salt
Butter, turmeric, red chile, black pepper, salt
Some explanations: I did NOT want it kneaded up, I was going for a lighter texture than seitan tends to be. This is why I was just barely mixing things. My biscuit dough slicing bit is to pat it into a lump, slice it, stack the slices on edge, press it into a lump, repeat. The idea in the biscuits is to end up with flaky layers, in this stuff it let it adhere without turning into a brick. I didn't slice it repeatedly, like I do for biscuits, only once, to adhere it. I left a lot of air pockets in it, as trying to not crush it. I used a good amount of oil in it, to help un-brick it also.
The tofu kept the whole thing from being just seitan, normally I cook beans, blender them up, and put them into my seitan, but the flavor has a beany whang, and I wanted the protein, the smoothness, and the low flavor of the tofu for this. I tried once using besan (chickpea flour) in seitan, but it's made from raw chickpeas, and really didn't taste very good, so I switched to cooked beans, usually with spices.
The vinegar and soy sauce, and onion powder, all add umami, a complex flavor that tastes "rich" or "deep." A lot of vegetarian recipes I have tried don't have a deep flavor, and that makes them not taste meaty. If you are going for meat flavor, adding umami to it will help. Mushrooms are a deep umami flavor, as is kombu seaweed and roasted onions. I'll probably be using mushrooms and roasted onions this year in my mix.
The deep fryer basket I used is about 2.5 inches deep, 8 inches by 5. It's mesh, and I lined it with cheese cloth, so I could steam it without having it in a solid pan, (I think I supported it in the canner, which is just the biggest pan I have, nothing important about it being a canner, on stainless steel bowls with a rack on top of them) as I think solid pan edges make for really crispy seitan, and I was going for turkey texture, not tough edges.
All of the glazes were good, and the whole thing went over REALLY well.
So I'll be running a batch again in a few days for Thanksgiving, and will take notes again. Let's see what happens!
I like to play with my food.... :D
Ever made anything like this? How did it come out? What did you use?