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Seitan innovation

Ingredients: Gluten flour, peanut oil, juniper berries, ginger...

Debra Solomon, culinairy blogger, food reseacher and concept creator of 'eateries', gave a seitan design workshop during the debate on breed meat at Platform21. Solomon, always eager to simplify recipes, proved that seitan - the great alternative for meat - can be made within an hour. According to Solomon, seitan is desperately in need of freed from its association with macrobiotics but, on the positive side, is tied to the discussion on the ethical implications of lab meat and the effects of industrialized food on our local/global economies and environment. She offers sustainable meat substitutes including a way in which we all can make lab meat with flour and water, in the lab that we commonly refer to as our kitchen.

Recipe/technique for making Seitan (serves ±4) - by Debra Solomon

1 cup gluten flour
1 heaping tbs unbleached white flour
(pinch of sea salt)
peanut oil

For seitan marinade:
soy sauce
rice wine vinegar
juniper berries
dried shitake mushrooms
bay leaves

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1. Mix the flours with a fork until fluffed and drizzle with water, tablespoon by tablespoon. Stir this mixture sloppily and within seconds it will start to bind together. When it looks like a large piece of spent chewing gum, you’re ready to form it into discs for boiling.

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2. Boil the gluten in water for about 20 minutes or until the gluten floats to the top. Not unlike raw octopus meat, gluten needs to be processed before achieving good mouth feel.

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3. Test the texture by cutting off the ends and popping them in your mouth for a test-chew. You don’t need to be an expert, if the gluten is fun to eat, it’s good, if chewing gluten starts to feel like aerobic exercise, it’s bad. If too chewy, you can best just start over, as it has to do with the amount of white flour you added in the beginning; too little flour equals too chewy.

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4. Deep-fry the loaves for at least 5 minutes. Don’t protest and think you can skip this step, because it radically transforms the texture into something delicious, even for folks that don’t wear goat wool socks.

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5. Put all of the ingredients of the marinade into a large pot on a medium flame, add the seitan and braise for up to 2 hours. Later you can store the seitan in the braising juices in the fridge.

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6. When cooking with seitan, treat it as if it were tofu or tempeh. It’s already mostly ‘cooked’, so you just need to add it to whatever you like, fire up the flavours and get it warm.

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