can be formed in various ways to make high-protein vegetarian foods. It is called seitan
in Japanese. I prefer the Chinese name, meinjin,
meaning "tendons of flour"
over the Japanese name seitan
which always calls forth a comment derived from an old Saturday Night Live sketch, “Could it be… SEITAN? How convEEEnient.”
You can make your own meinjin by working an un-yeasted dough under the tap, washing away everything but the gluten; but that takes several hours and I am certain that your time is worth more than 30 cents an hour.
Meinjin is gluten which has been extracted from wheat flour, cooked and flavoured, and is very rich in protein and iron while being extremely low in fat and calories. It can be prepared in a variety of ways, achieving a wide range of textures and flavours suitable for many traditional foods, although it is best prepared with very flavourful sauces and cooked sufficiently to remove excess water. Per 100 grams, meinjin contains 18 grams of protein while tofu contains around 12.
Meinjin is available in health food stores for horrendously high prices (as much as $7 for a tiny package) and at most Chinese and Vietnamese food stores in tins for a fraction of the price ($1.79 for 12 ounces or so). I recommend those labelled as “vegetarian mock pork” and “mock duck" or “chicken-flavoured gluten." Please never ever buy the tins labelled "curry-flavoured"
Before using, please rinse in very hot water several times to remove any added flavouring which simply taste awful. If you buy it from the health food store, you might want to boil it for an hour or so to remove all traces of the faux “teryaki” flavouring.
Meinjin, Mixed Beans and Peppers in Peanut-Lemon Sauce:
Melt butter and smooth peanut butter together in a small pot or frying pan (you can use a mixture of butter and extra virgin olive oil if you prefer but the flavour of the butter is important). Once thoroughly mixed, on a medium-high heat, add shredded coconut and a good quality curry powder. Cook until the spices are incorporated. Add grated lemon peel and a generous amount of lemon juice. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Cut the meinjin into very small slices and marinate in half of the peanut-lemon sauce.
Lay on an ungreased baking sheet and bake at a high temperature or broil until the meinjin is no longer wet. While it is cooking, dice red bell peppers and sear. Mix broad beans and kidney beans together and heat. Toss with the meinjin, seared red pepper and the remaining peanut-lemon sauce. Garnish with lemon peel and peanuts.