Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pressure Cooked Seitan Cutlets – Mild Flavor

(pictured: an entire recipe of cutlets cooling on a half sheet pan)

I normally make seitan roasts, but sometimes I want a cutlet instead. Since I hadn’t posted the cutlet method before I thought that would be a good post for today.

To make the seitan cutlets you use the same technique as for the roasts until you get to the stage where you are forming them. I find it easiest to take the seitan dough from the mixing bowl and place it on my cutting board and cut it into 8 approximately even pieces. I then return 7 of the pieces to the mixing bowl and work on one piece at a time. I form the dough into a rough oblong disk shape with my hands (similar to making pizza dough) and then finish by rolling the seitan with a rolling pin until it is the thickness I want. The seitan will be difficult to roll since it continues to snap back. I usually end up smashing the outside edges of the dough thinner with my fingers. I form all 8 cutlets before I move to the next step.

While I am rolling and smashing the cutlets I heat my cast iron pan over medium heat with a little canola oil (2 tablespoons is more than enough). Next you want to crisp/brown both sides of the seitan in the skillet before you simmer it. The seitan will expand a little in the oil don’t overcrowd the pan. I crisp my seitan in two or three batches. After the seitan is browned I move it to the simmering cooking liquid. Don’t worry if the cutlets seem too small to you. They approximately double in size in the pressure cooker.

You can cook the seitan in a pressure cooker, in the oven, on the stovetop or in a crockpot. My favorite method is the pressure cooker. I think the pressure-cooked seitan has a nicer texture. However the crockpot method also works well. If you are interested in the crockpot method it is found in this recipe.

I use the seitan in cutlet form when I plan to make a recipe where the “meat” is the center of the plate. Cutlets work well with a piccata sauce or Milanese style. I think you get the idea.

Pressure Cooked Seitan Cutlets – Mild Flavor
Makes 8 cutlets


5 cups of master cooking liquid or water seasoned with soy sauce, onion, garlic, and/or tomato
1 ¾ cups water
1 tablespoon of onion flakes or powder
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
4 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons of marmite (yeast extract spread) - optional but nice if you have it
salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup tapioca flour (can substitute wheat flour)
10 ounces box of vital wheat gluten
2 tablespoons of canola oil to sauté cutlets (one tablespoon will not be absorbed)


Bring the cooking liquid to a simmer in your pressure cooker (lid off) while you make the seitan dough.

Combine water, onion, garlic, nutritional yeast, and the marmite and whisk to combine. Taste the liquid for salt and pepper and adjust to your taste. Add the tapioca and whisk to combine. Add the vital wheat gluten and knead until all the gluten is wet and a dough has formed.

Heat your cast iron pan over medium high heat with the two tablespoons of canola oil. You want the pan to be approximately 350 degrees before you add the first few cutlets. Brown the cutlets on both sides and add them to the simmering liquid in your pressure cooker. When all the cutlets have been browned on both sides and moved to the pressure cooker make certain you have enough cooking liquid on your cutlets (you want them all to be in the liquid) and lock the lid and bring the cooker to high pressure.

Cook the cutlets for 30 minutes on high pressure and then take the pan off the heat and allow it to cool naturally. In 15 minutes check to see if the pressure indicated has dropped. If not, use the quick release button to release the pressure manually.

You can now use the cutlets or refrigerate them until needed.

If you are going to use them right away I move them to a half sheet pan so that they will cool and dry out a little. I do this so that I can coat them with a little flour. For most recipes I normally end of pan crisping the cutlets and this is easier if they are cool enough to handle since I will need to dust them with flour.

The cutlets that I am not using right away I like to refrigerate in the cooled cooking liquid and then wrap them in plastic cling film for the freezer when completely cold. They will keep for a month (at least) in the plastic cling film inside a freezer bag. I think they would last longer but we always eat ours before they have gotten any older. I also save the cooled cooking liquid and store it in the freezer to use when I make the next batch of seitan.

Nutritional Information (per cutlet):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 185.85
Calories From Fat (12%) - 21.43

Total Fat - 2.42g
Saturated Fat - 0.23g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 390.31mg
Potassium - 331.19mg
Total Carbohydrates - 11.62g
Fiber - 0.73g
Sugar - 0.65g
Protein - 29.8g


What I like about making seitan in the pressure cooker is that it is fast (ready to use in well under 90 minutes), and the texture has nice meat like chew that reminds me of a steak cooked medium rare. It is not too tough, but not too soft either. Pressure-cooking is my favorite method for cooking seitan. If you don’t have a pressure cooker I think the crockpot is the next best method in terms of texture, but it takes a long time. When I use my crockpot for seitan I let it cook overnight while we sleep, so it is ready for dinner the following day.

The flavor of this seitan is mild, much more like chicken or pork than beef. However it doesn’t taste like either chicken or pork, it tastes like seitan. When I first starting vegan cooking I wanted my food to taste exactly like the recipes I used to make with meat. It took me a year or so to realize that meat substitutes were never going to taste exactly the same as meat. I now appreciate seitan for what it is and don’t expect it to taste like meat. While the taste is not the same the texture is very close. For us I found the texture was more important. We wanted our food to have a "meaty" chew that is necessary is some recipes.

Overall we find this to be a cook recipe and technique for cooking seitan. If you haven’t tried pressure cooking your seitan you should give it a try. I think you will be very pleased with the results.

1 comment:

  1. I just bought a new electric pressure cooker. Even though I have to eat meat on occasion due to health problems, I still make seitan regularly because it's so healthy and so good. This is hands down the best recipe for it I have ever found. Thank you!


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