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Mock meat is expensive and after a lot of trial and error, I’m happy to present to you my recipe for chicken seitan pieces.
Save some money and make your own seitan
Most mock meat out there is made out of a product called vital wheat gluten. As you mix the gluten with different seasonings and use a variety of cooking methods, you can make unique mock meats right in your own kitchen!
I know so many vegans who live solely off of mock meat products and I always think about what this must do to their budget. Of course if you don’t have time to make seitan, store bought mock meat is great in a pinch … until you realize each package contains 2 servings at the most.
A bag of vital wheat gluten costs anywhere from $6-$7 or $0.20 – $0.30 per ounce in Phoenix. I’m sharing this information because price gouging is happening a lot with COVID-19 and I don’t want you all to get ripped off if you decide to buy VWG for the first time.
If we’re going to examine costs, a 22-ounce package of vital wheat gluten contains enough for about 3 batches of chicken seitan pieces. Let’s add in $1.50 for the other ingredients which include a can of chickpeas, some miso, no chicken bouillon and some other spices. This brings your total to $3.50 per bath of chicken seitan. A batch contains 8 servings. That’s $0.44 per serving!
Get your daily protein intake with chicken seitan
If you’re looking for a protein-dense food, look no further than chicken seitan pieces. Vital wheat gluten contains 81% protein and 1/4 cup has over 22 grams of it. It’s a staple food of mine to have on hand, especially during quarantine. They’re super versatile – just mix in your favorite spices or sauces and toss the pieces in a salad, on top of mac and cheese, in a sandwich, or a burrito.
What ingredients are in chicken seitan?
Now here’s where the unoriginal part of this recipe comes in. For a while now, I’ve been adapting a recipe from Avocados and Ales. While the ingredients remain similar, the preparation is pretty different. Also, I thought the blog for the longest time was titled Avocado Sandals, so jokes on me and also your real blog title makes more sense.
The first and most obvious ingredient in chicken seitan is vital wheat gluten but the next one may surprise you: a can of undrained chickpeas. I’ve made this with and without the aquafaba (chickpea water) and it doesn’t really make a huge difference, so no worries if you accidentally strain them. You’ll also need some oil – I used EVOO – along with miso, no chicken bouillon, onion powder, garlic powder, and apple cider vinegar. That’s it – just 7 ingredients.
The only difference between my recipe and the one from Avocados and Ales is the lack of salt and the addition of no chicken bouillon. If you want your chicken pieces to have as close of a flavor as possible to actual chicken, I would invest in the bouillon. It comes in handy and is a nice substitute for veggie broth if you’re looking to try something new. I want to personally thank this blog for my intro to seitan. Now that I have my processes down, I hope to post more of my own 100% original seitan recipes in the future!
How to make chicken seitan pieces
The process of making chicken seitan is time-consuming but not labor-intensive. Once you do it a couple of times, you’ll get the hang of it, I promise! You’ll start out by combining all of the ingredients except the vital wheat gluten in a blender. I’ve used both a food processor and a blender and for this specific recipe, I recommend going with a blender. My food processor left behind some small chickpea granules that flaked away when breaking apart and led to a grainy texture. You’ll want the mixture to be super smooth.
Next, you’ll add the ingredients to the vital wheat gluten and stir with a silicone spatula until the gluten is combined and there is no outstanding flour. Then, let the mixture sit for 30 minutes to allow the gluten to fully absorb the wet ingredients.
This next part is probably the hardest one because it can vary based on the equipment you have. The recipe from Avocados and Ales is to make shredded chicken and this is for chicken pieces so the stopping point for processing is sooner.
I own a very small food processor. It’s a true vintage beast that my mom gave me. It’s an incredible piece of machinery but I imagine your food processor behaves differently. Because mine is so small, I have to divide my seitan and process in batches of four. If you have a normal-sized food processor you can do it in a batch of two.
The timing of processing is super important. If you don’t process enough, you’ll end up with pieces that won’t break apart very easily. If you over process, you’ll end up with shreds.
I recommend processing and checking the mixture every 30 seconds – a minute. For the texture in this photo, I only had to process for a minute and 30 seconds to two minutes. When I pushed 3, the dough would get more smooth and after boiling and baking would turn out shred-like.
Keep in mind that when your process, the mixture will come apart then back together. You’ll know the seitan is processed enough when it contains both gummy bits with some stringy parts,
After you’ve processed all of your chicken, toss your divided wheat gluten mix into a pot of boiling vegetable broth. Cover and boil for 20 minutes flipping halfway through. You’ll want to check these occasionally to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. While the pieces boil, preheat your oven to 375. They will poof up significantly during this part of the process and resemble brains.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the chicken brains on the sheet. Bake uncovered for 30 – 40 minutes flipping every 10 minutes. The more you cook the brains, the drier your chicken seitan will be. If the chicken seitan cooks too much, you can always rehydrate it with water in a nonstick saucepan before adding it to your meal.
Next, remove the chicken seitan from the oven and let cool. Once the chicken brains can be handled without injuring yourself, break them apart into pieces. From there the possibilities are legit endless.
In this segment, I suggest a song for you to listen to while you make chicken seitan pieces! You can even stream it right here in your browser. Today’s Recipe Jam is Black Water by Loose Fit.
If you try this recipe, I want to hear about it! Feel free to post your creations to Instagram or Facebook and tag Hell Yes It’s Vegan or #hellyesitsvegan. I look forward to seeing your creations!
Chicken Seitan Pieces
- food processor
- baking sheet
- Add all the ingredients except the vital wheat gluten and vegetable broth into a blender and process until smooth.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the vital wheat gluten and chickpea mixture and stir with a spatula until combined. Let the seitan sit for 30 minutes and allow for the gluten to hydrate.
- Add the 4 cups of vegetable broth or water to a large pot and bring to a boil. Divide seitan into 4 parts (Or 2 parts if you have a large food processor. Mine is pretty small). One by one, process the seitan for 1:30 – 2 minutes until the mixture has some small grainy bits and some stretchy pieces. If you're using a larger food processor this could take longer.
- Preheat oven to 375. Add seitan parts to the boiling broth. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes flipping half-way through. Check the bottom of the pot every once in a while to ensure sticking does not occur. Don't be alarmed by the seitan's size increase and brain-like appearance.
- Remove the seitan brains from the pot and add to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Reserve vegetable broth in fridge to be reused for another recipe. Bake brains for 30-40 minutes flipping every 10 minutes.
- When seitan is cool enough to handle, use your hands to break the seitan apart into small pieces. Season with your favorite spices and sauces and add to salads, sandwiches, pasta, or whatever your heart desires.