Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Seitan Chicken Style - in the crockpot

(Pictured: seitan pan seared quickly in a skillet with a little olive oil and topped with kosher salt)

Why should you make your own seitan? There are many reasons to make your own seitan. You know what is in your own seitan, or more importantly what isn’t, preservatives, dyes and other nasty things. When you make your own seitan you can flavor it the way you like it. When the seitan is cooking the house will smell wonderful for many hours. Last, and not an insignificant reason is that it is so much cheaper than buying it. Have you looked at the prices in the grocery store lately? It is almost criminal what they charge for what amounts to a box of vital wheat gluten they seasoned and cooked.

This seitan has a very mild taste. You can use this seitan in any recipe that calls for chicken or veal cutlets by slicing it diagonally about 1/3 of an inch thick. You can also cut this into chunks and use it stews or gravy based dishes.

Seitan Chicken Style in the Slow Cooker
makes 4 roasts of approximately 8 ounces each (total of 8 servings)

Dry Ingredients:

2 ¼ cups of vital wheat gluten (aka gluten flour)
½ cup tapioca flour
½ cup of tvp – dry
4 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons of onion flakes

Wet Ingredients:

2 ½ cups of cold water
2 tablespoons of liquid aminos
½ teaspoon of marmite
2 tablespoons of tomato paste (use the canned type, the tomato paste in a tube is normally double strength)

Broth Ingredients:

6 cups of cold water
¼ cup of liquid aminos
4 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 tablespoons of onion flake
1 tablespoon of garlic powder

In one bowl add the dry ingredients and sift to thoroughly combine.

In a second bowl combine the wet ingredients and whisk until everything is thoroughly combined.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and knead so that there is no dry gluten flour remaining. If all the gluten does not absorb add in water ata ½ tablespoon at a time and knead until all the gluten has been combined into the seitan. Continue to knead the seitan until it is so tight you can’t knead anymore. Then let the seitan rest for 10 minutes and return and knead again. You will know the seitan has been kneaded enough when it is tight and somewhat glossy on the outside. Allow the seitan to rest for another 5 minutes while you make the slow cooker broth.

Combine the all broth ingredients in the slow cooker and whisk to combine.

Return to the seitan and cut it into 4 reasonably equal portions. Knead and form these into long roast like shapes. They will seem small and you will think it isn’t right. However, the roasts will expand in the slow cooker as they simmer. Put the roasts into the slow cooker in an even layer. If the liquid in your slow cooker doesn’t come to the top of your roasts add enough cold water so that the roasts are just covered. Cover the cooker and set to low for 10 hours.

Allow the roasts to cool in the liquid for about 30 minutes uncovered before you move the seitan and its liquid to the refrigerator. The next day I wrap my seitan roasts in plastic wrap and then put them in a gallon freezer bag to use later. I also save the cooking liquid in the freezer in a separate container and reuse it each time I make seitan. You will need defrost the cooking liquid in the refrigerator the night before. Add enough cold water so that the liquid covers the roasts in the crockpot. I save the cooking liquid because it becomes more flavorful each time it is cooked, like a master cooking sauce in Asian cuisine.


There are so many recipes for seitan roasts on the Internet that you can reference for how to cook and season your seitan. I first put my seitan in the slow cooker about 4 weeks ago and I think it makes seitan with the best texture. My husband describes the texture as similar to a properly cooked piece of meat. The pan seared seitan can be easily cut with the side of a fork.

When cleaning the bowl the seitan was kneaded in you don’t want to use a kitchen sponge or dish towel as the seitan will stick itself into the fibers and you wouldn’t be able to remove it. I use a sheet of wet paper towel to remove the gluten from the bowl. If you forget once and use a sponge of a dish cloth you will understand why the paper towel is preferable.


  1. Sweeet, thanks for adding the search function, it led me here! This sounds like a fun recipe to try. I have never seen tapioca flour though before, are there any other flours that might do well here?

  2. Sarah,

    I have also used ceci flour or soy flour in seitan. I haven't tried it but I think you could also use regular wheat flour.

    I need to make another batch of seitan today for the freezer. If you want me to play around with the crockpot version a little I don't mind. I enjoy experimenting in the kitchen.


  3. Cool, thanks! I could totally swing soy flour. I will give a second look at whole foods when I go pick up some TVP in their bulk section. They may have tapioca flour but if not they definitely have soy flour. If you end up doing any experimentation let me know! In the meantime I'll try to find one of the ones you know will work well. Loveee the crockpot version. I'm excited to set this up after dinner sometime and let it run all night.

  4. Sarah,

    I will play around with the recipe today (with at least two replacements for the tapioca) and will post the results either later today or tomorrow.


  5. Sarah,

    I have two versions of seitan in the crockpot now. One version uses my new standard breadcrumb addition. The other version uses whole wheat flour. Since it will be midnight before I get them out the cooker I will post the recipes tomorrow.



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