Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Seitan Ribs and Cheesy broccli mashed potatoes

I entered an Iron Chef Challenge over on the Something Awful forums. The challenge was comfort food. I made Seitan, which, if you don't know is a mock meat made with wheat gluten and flavored to taste like whatever meat you like. I've duplicated my post exactly here, and if requested I can build an exact recipe, but I'm really not a recipe type. It's mostly flavor to taste, a pinch of this, dash of that. I hope you guys can follow along.

Exact post as follows:

To me comfort food is food that is delicious, easy to make, and always makes you feel good. I'm sure tonight's menu is sure to please. BBQ ribs, mashed potatoes. It doesn't get any more homey then that. The SO wanted to stop eating meat, so I stopped cooking with it. The ribs are completely vegan, and there is cheese in the potatoes, but easily can use vegan cheese to veganise the taters.

Now normally when it comes to cooking anything, I eyeball it, but for the seitan, it can be kind of fickle, so I've put the measurements of the important stuff next to the ingredients. Everything else is just to taste!

Enough intro, lets get cookin!

Seitan Ribbies

Our players in this course:

In order from left to right:
*Garlic Powder
*Onion Powder
*1 tablespoon Liquid smoke
*Kirkland Sweet Mesquite seasoning
*1 cup Wheat Gluten
*2 tablespoons Peanut Butter (or tahini, or any nut butter)
*2 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
*Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce
*1 tablespoon soy sauce (not pictured)
*3/4 cup of COLD water (not pictured)

Combine ALL the dry ingredients in a bowl. That gritty stuff on top is the sweet mesquite seasoning. I like to season the seitan with the same stuff I'd be seasoning the meat with. Mix the dry stuff well. Once you introduce liquid you can't really spread it around as much as you like, and you'll have patches of over seasoned seitan.

Combine 3/4 cup of water with all your wet ingredients. It's important to use COLD water when making the seitan, otherwise the texture will be wonky. In the middle there is the peanut butter. You can use any nut butter. Tahini would be a more popular option, but I have never used it. I just Jif, works fine for me. You don't taste it in the final product.

Whisk up your wet ingredients. It's important to break down the peanut butter as much as possible. It won't be perfect but it's fine.

Mix into your dry ingredients.

Don't be afraid of the pukey-like clumps of PB at the bottom. Drop them in and mix them up. The process of making seitan can, at times, be kind of ugly, but it's totally worth it in the end.

Now you can mix it up with the spoon for a little while, but the gluten binds FAST, and just know you are gonna have to stick your hands in there and knead. Just for a minute or two, until it's a firm dough.

Flatten it out as much as you can in an oiled baking dish of some sort. The gluten will spring back as you try to stretch it out, so instead of pulling it apart, I just push down on it and it seems to do the trick.

Bake for 25 mins at 350. It will be a little squishy, but not like raw squishy. If you over cook it, it will be hard and bready. Enjoy your meat flavored toast at that point. I've done it a couple of times and it sucks.

Now while it's baking, time to check on the dog.

He was sleepin!

Anyway, now that it's in the oven, time to make the taters!

Cheesy Broccoli Taters

Hell yeah, lets meet the crew:

From left to right

*That tub has shredded mozzarella
*Minced Garlic (don't hate on it)
*Frozen Broccoli
*Plain Soymilk
*Salt and pepper

Peel and chop taters. Normally I like the skins, but it's not so awesome with the broccoli. I'm totally using the deep fry scoop to add the potatoes. I didn't want to risk burning myself while taking pics. Safety first!

Got some time to kill... lets check on the dog again...

Out cold! Jerk, and on my side of the bed too!

Just before the potatoes finish, add the frozen broccoli. Toss it right in there, it's gonna be awesome, I promise! (notice the finished seitan in the back, we'll get back to it, I promise!

Say hello to big red. Just toss all the taters, and broccoli into a mixer, or you can do it by hand for chunkier mash. It's your call really.

I mixed it up a bit, then added 2 heapin spoonfuls of garlic, a coupla handfuls of cheese, and enough milk to smooth it out. It was a total coincidence that it was St Patrick's day today, I didn't plan green food, but hey, whatever works.


Lazy dog smells dinner!

Now lets finish the Seitan!

Re-Score your ribbies, and cover with some Sweet Baby Ray's (damn I love that stuff)

Spread it all around good and slap sauce side down on your grill. Now, I don't have a real grill, so I'm using an indoor grill. You can totally use a Foreman Grill too!

Now, up to this point, I'm sure there were some doubters. Let me put your minds at ease with the next few pictures.

At this point, you aren't cooking the seitan, you just want to get a nice char going. Basically coat/flip a few times to make something delicious!

Hell yeah! I love dinner!
We tore this shit up, it's so good. It's the most requested dish at my house, and for good reason.


  1. that looks amaaaaazing! And it was totally the most fun & engrossing "how to cook this" post I've ever read!

  2. Thanks, keep checking back for more, as I plan a bunch more, in the same style.

  3. OMG, this stuff looks totally delicious!

    Im a vegetarian, but i wud have never gotten the idea of making it from scratch, it looks so good tho!
    Being in Australia i prob cant get the exact ingredients tho, damn it, but i will try.
    Cute dog too!:)