Monday, September 21, 2009

Steam/Baked Seitan Cutlets Seasoned with Ginger, Mustard and Lemon

I have volunteered to show a non-veg friend of mine how to make seitan in a couple of weeks. Given that she doesn’t have a pressure cooker I thought I would play around with baking seitan since I have not prepared it this way in at least a year.

The seasonings for this recipe come from "The Silver Palate Basics Cookbook" and a recipe called “Bobbie’s Chicken” found on page 403. Both my husband and I loved that recipe and I decided to veganize it today so I used the cooking broth flavors and added them to the seitan itself. I will be posting the recipe for “Bobbie’s Seitan” later today.

First I made the wet ingredients and tasted them and found the flavor to be a little strong. However, once the breadcrumbs and vital wheat gluten were added the flavor became much more subtle. The flavor is noticeable but not overpowering. I think this could be used in many places where chicken would have been used provided the recipe would work well with a subtle ginger background.

The texture of these cutlets is denser than the pressure-cooked version. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but I wasn’t certain how else to describe it. The cutlets are tender, due I believe to the combination baking and steaming cooking method I used. If you like a crust on your seitan you can air dry it on a rack and sear it again in the cast iron pan. This worked well to give it a more "meat-like" chewy texture.

Steam/Baked Seitan Cutlets Seasoned with Ginger, Mustard and Lemon
Serves 8


2 cups of water
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
½ tablespoon ginger powder
1 tablespoon onion flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 lemon, zested (save juice for the sauce recipe to follow)
2 cups whole wheat bread crumbs
10 ounces vital wheat gluten
pan spray to brown the cutlets
1 ½ cup of water to steam bake the cutlets


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine water, mustard, ginger, onion flakes, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, and lemon in your blender. Process to thoroughly combine.

Pour the wet ingredients over the breadcrumbs and stir to combine. Allow the breadcrumbs to stand for at least 10 minutes so that the breads become soft and thoroughly saturated.

Add the vital wheat gluten to the wet ingredients and knead to combine all the ingredients.

Begin heating your heavy (preferably cast iron) pan over medium heat while you make the seitan dough.

Form the seitan dough into a log and cut into eight pieces. Using your fingers shape the seitan into cutlet shapes that are about ½ inch thick.

Sear the exterior of the cutlets in the preheated pan that you sprayed with pan spray. Cut for a few minutes on each side (until the cutlets release from the bottom of the pan). You will need to sear the cutlets in batches so that you don’t overcrowd the pan.

When both sides are seared move the cutlets to the big roasting dish. Use a dish that is large enough to fit the cutlets in a single layer, with room for them to expand a little. I used my turkey roaster, since what else will it get used for these days.

Pour the half-cup of water into the baking dish with the cutlets and cook for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes add the remaining cup of water and cook for an additional 20 minutes. The first part of the cooking is to primarily bake the cutlets and firm the interior and the second half is to make them tender. You could substitute dry white wine for the water if you want more flavor in the cutlets.

They are now ready to use, as you like. Cut them up and use them in chunks, serve them as whole cutlets with a sauce. Slice them on the bias and cover them with a tasty sauce and make a sandwich. The options for using these are almost endless.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 218.15
Calories From Fat (9%) - 19.67

Total Fat - 2.2g
Saturated Fat - 0.35g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 618.24mg
Potassium - 297.09mg
Total Carbohydrates - 17.79g
Fiber - 2.45g
Sugar - 1.78g
Protein - 32.17g

The numbers above assume that a teaspoon of canola oil is absorbed in the cutlets when they are being seared. This may be overstating the fat, but I would rather take a conservative approach.


The flavor of the final cutlets is subtle but not bland. The primary flavor I detected was ginger, followed by mustard and lemon. I plan to use these cutlets when I need a chicken substitute.

The texture was better than I expected. I think getting a sear on the cutlets first and steam baking them made a nice texture. I tasted them both straight from the oven and after a sear in the lightly greased cast iron pan. The seared version was the clear winner, but I am a big fan of textural contrast so that is the version I expected to like.

If you don’t have a pressure cooker, and you don’t want to buy one, this cooking method uses the best of both baking a steaming. The cutlets were not at all spongy like they can be when they are simmered directly in broth.


  1. I've never heard of making seitan this way. Very interesting.

  2. Shenandoah Vegan,

    Thanks! I think I made up this method. I normally pressure cook my cutlets but needed a method that didn't use the pressure cooker for my friend. My husband preferred the texture of seitan cutlets made this way to the pressure-cooked.

    If you give the method a try please let me how it works for you.



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