Seitan Fried "Chicken"
You don't need to eat chickens when you have SEITAN behind you!
Now Seitan was one of those things I had heard about for a while after going vegan. And I bought a bag of Vital Wheat Gluten, and put it up on my shelf and would look at it every other day and say "not today Seitan" because I was so intimidated by it. I mean, there's so many ways you can make it, you can boil it, pressure cook it, bake it, steam it, etc so I thought, there's too much room for error! But honestly, you just gotta get your hands dirty and make some and experiment, and find out what you like. For me, this is one of the best ways to cook and enjoy seitan!
This recipe was inspired by my friend Lacey who runs the blog Avocados and Ales, and her world famous Chickwheat recipe, so check her recipe and blog out for sure! She's amazing!
While Lacey shreds her Seitan up, I decided to fry mine, but it'd be find without the breading too! You can shred it, slice it, treat it however you like!
Now, seitan is a lot like chicken in the sense that it can be pretty bland if you don't season it right. For this recipe I'm using nutritional yeast, mushroom seasoning and some vegan chicken seasoning amongst some other spices. But feel free to use whatever you like!
The only special equipment recommended for this recipe is an Instant Pot and a Food Processor. You can also use a stand mixer according to Lacey's recipe, but I opted for my Food Processor. You'll wanna blend up everything but the vital wheat gluten until it's smooth, and then add in the vital wheat gluten and blend that until it's formed some nice long stretchy gluten strands. If the dough feels soft and wet, you might need to add a little more vital wheat gluten. I recommend processing it for 5 - 8 minutes.
I used an Instant Pot to steam these after wrapping them in foil. You can steam them on the stove top, but from my tests, I found that the Instant Pot gave it a better chew with a bit more variation. That being said the stove top version was still amazing, so don't sweat it if you don't have an Instant Pot.
Once the Seitan is blended up, let it rest for 15 minutes. Then divide it into patties, wrap them tightly in foil (or parchment paper and then foil) and steam them. Next well marinade them overnight in a vegan buttermilk. The next day we'll go ahead and deep fry them! You can do a single or double dredge. For the double dredge you can add some flour to the vegan buttermilk marinade to thicken it some more if needed. You might also need a bit more vegan milk to double dredge but I didn't when I made these. I also recommend making a few nuggets to test the seasoning out first so you can adjust as needed before frying the big guys!
Here's a Handy Dandy Video too!
A few tips for Fried Chick'n:
Get a deep fry thermometer. You can use a different one if you fry in a pan, but for my money, the deep fry thermometer has been a big help. I like to fry at 375 degrees.
Use a cooling rack after frying. The reason for this is, if you just put your chick'n on a plate, or paper towel, it's gonna steam itself and get soft. With a wire rack, it'll stay crispy.
Don't use olive oil to fry. You need to use something with a neutral flavor, I usually fry with peanut oil, but vegetable or canola work fine too!
If the recipe calls for a vegan buttermilk, really let the plant-milk and vinegar sit for a good 5 -10 minutes. I have found that different plant-milks will thicken more or less. You can also add a few tablespoons of flour to thicken the wet dredge as well. In fact I usually do this nowadays!
Shake off the excess flour and batter when you dredge.
Make sure you press the flour into the chick'n so it sticks!
Air Fryer Option
If you prefer less oil, you can use the same technique for Air Frying with THIS RECIPE.
Additionally, you can Air Fry this recipe too. All you need to do is line your Air Fryer with some parchment paper that you've poked holes with (the parchment paper keeps the batter from sticking to the air fryer). Then do a single dredge and place your chick'n in the air fryer. Make sure not to crowd the air fryer, you don't want any pieces touching. Next, spray the chick'n with some cooking spray, you want to make sure you don't see any dry flour. Then flip them and spray again.
Air Fry for about 6 minutes at 380° F, then flip and spray them again, and repeat the process until they are at your desired doneness!
One important note, DO NOT preheat your Air Fryer with the parchment paper. Otherwise the paper will fly into the coils and cause a fire! NOOOO!
Makes about 5 - 6 Chick'n Patties
1 (15 oz.) can of chickpeas including the aquafaba liquid
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp mushroom seasoning
1 Tbsp vegan chicken powder (optional)
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp neutral oil
180 grams vital wheat gluten
2 cups unsweetened plant milk
2 Tbsp pickle brine
2 Tbsp hot sauce
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 - 2 Tbsp all purpose seasoning (like a Cajun seasoning)
Flour as needed (to thicken)
1 cup flour
1 cup cornstarch
2 Tbsp baking powder
2 Tbsp all purpose seasoning (like a Cajun seasoning)
For the seitan, combine all the ingredients except the vital wheat gluten in a food processor and blend until smooth.
Add in the vital wheat gluten and process until the gluten has long stretchy strands. About 5 - 8 minutes. Add more vital wheat gluten if the dough is too wet and soft. If your food processor is having a hard time, divide the dough in half and do it in two sessions.
Once Seitan has been kneaded, let it rest for 15 minutes. Divide it into balls about 120 grams each. You should about 6 balls and a little leftover. Form the leftovers into little nuggets (to test the seasoning when frying).
Roll the balls out into a filet about the size of a chicken breast, and try to keep them as thin as possible, no more than 1/2 inch thick ideally. Wrap all the filets individually in heavy duty foil. You can wrap them first in parchment paper if you want as well. Make sure they are wrapped up tight so they don't expand, you can even double wrap them to make sure.
In your Instant Pot, add a steamer basket and some water (making sure it's below the steamer basket). Add the filets and extra nuggets and steam on high pressure for 1 hour 20 minutes. Release the pressure (carefully of course). You can also steam these on the stove top for the same amount of time, flipping and rotating them every 20 minutes or so. Let the seitan filets rest until cool enough to handle.
Make the marinade by combining all the ingredients in a marinating vessel such as tupperware or a freezer bag.
Once the Seitan is cool enough to handle, unwrap them and add them to the marinating vessel, ensuring that they are all covered in the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but overnight is ideal.
Prepare the dry dredge by combining and whisking everything in a large bowl or high rimmed plate. Remove the filets from the marinade, then add a few tablespoons of flour to the marinade to thicken if needed (add marinade to a bowl if using a ziploc bag).
Bring a pot or heavy cast iron skillet and some neutral oil up to 375 F / 190 C. Don't fill the pot with oil more than half way!
Once oil is up to temperature, dip your chick'n pieces in dry dredge, coating thoroughly and shaking off the excess. To double dredge, coat them in the leftover marinade, letting the excess drip off, and then repeat the dry dredging process.
Carefully add them to the oil and fry until golden brown, about 4 - 5 minutes.
Let them rest on a cooling rack, and once they're done, eat them however you'd like, they are great on a bun with some pickles and a zip zappin sauce!