If you haven't heard of seitan, (pronounced "Say-tan") it's bloody amazing stuff. Also known as 'Mock Duck", it's made from wheat gluten, it has the texture of meat. You know the stuff that makes bread, bready. Gluten, which is a protein, hence the meaty texture.
You can make it from scratch, using flour and water for a base, along with some herbs and spices for taste. But honestly, I tried this. It was messy, uneconomical and so time consuming. It took hours and I finally had a small pot of tiny pieces. Yes, they were good, but I haven't got time for that nonsense. Buying the Gluten powder makes this a lot easier and you get more Seitan too.
Anyway, here it is... my easy chicken style nuggets. Made with Seitan.
1 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup water
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
8 cups veggie stock
6 cloves garlic, smashed
2 bay leaves
2 cups wheat gluten
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup plain flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon dried sage
1 1/2 cup veggie stock
1/4 cup light soy sauce
2 tablespoons oil
Extra flour for covering the seitan in once cooked.
Oil for frying.
First, make the batter. Combine the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in a bowl. Add the water and oil whisking until smooth. Sprinkle in your paprika and whisk until completely combined. Chill until needed.
Fill a large pot with all of the broth ingredients. Cover and bring to the boil.
In a separate bowl, mix the wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, flour, salt, onion powder and sage. Once combined, make a well in the centre. Add the stock, soy sauce and oil.
Mix with a fork to start, then knead together (exactly like you do with bread). Do this for about 3 minutes until everything is well combined. If your dough gets tough, leave to sit and go back to it. This makes the Seitan more meat-like when it is cooked.
Divide into small balls. Make them smaller than you want, because they will plump up when cooking. If the mixture isn't forming into smooth balls, squeeze it in the palm of your hand, then roll to a roundish shape.
Turn down the broth to a slight simmer. This is important, if the heat is too high, the seitan will go mushy and soft. Which is not pleasant. Trust me on that one.
Gently drop in your nuggets making sure they do not touch. Keep an eye on them and check the heat every so often to make sure it isn't too high.
Simmer for 45 minutes until seitan is firm and meaty. To see if it's done, stick a fork in it. It should have resistance and no longer be doughy.
Drain and let it cool. Put a thick layer of seasoned flour on to a large plate.
Pop all of the seitan pieces on to the flour plate. Use a fork to roll them about to cover the entire pieces with flour. This helps the batter to stick.
Put a pan with oil on to fry. Get the batter and dust off any excess flour.
Dip in the nuggets to your batter. Make sure they have a thick coating.
When the oil is hot, drop in around 5 nuggets at a time. Don't overcrowd the pan. Otherwise the batter won't cook evenly. Turn so they are cooked on all sides.
Once they are golden, and crispy remove from the oil and drain on some kitchen paper.
And there it is. Perfect, crispy chicken style nuggets that no animals were harmed in making. Delicious. Even if I say so myself.
Who doesn't love nuggets? Whilst I am skeptical of meat replacements, when done right, seitan can be amazing in its own right. The only issue is seitan can take a long time to prepare, so I'd suggest doing it in batches, as it will keep for about a week in the fridge. These nuggets are great, and can be very difficult to tell they are vegan.