All Hail Lord Seitan!

Seitan or mein-jin is a nutritious vegetarian food. It's basically gluten. It can be purchased cheaply in Asian grocery stores. Or you can make it. How?

Quick Homemade Gluten

(Makes 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds or 2 to 2-1/2 cups)

2 cups high gluten flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1-1/4 cups water or vegetable stock
3 Tablespoons shoyu (soy sauce)
1-3 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

Add garlic powder and ginger to flour and stir. Mix liquids together and add to the flour mixture all at once. Mix vigorously with a fork. When it forms a stiff dough, knead it around 15 times.

Let the dough rest 2 to 5 minutes, then knead it a few more times. Let it rest another 15 minutes.

Slice the gluten into 6 to 8 pieces and then stretch them into thin cutlets. Simmer in the following broth for 30 to 60 minutes.

4 cups water
1/4 cup shoyu
3-inch piece of kombu (a type of seaweed)
3-4 slices ginger
white pepper
teaspoon of aged rice vinegar
teaspoon of mirin

Combine all of the ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring the broth to a boil. Drop the seitan in one at a time. Reduce heat to a bare simmer and cover the saucepan.

Or, like I said, you can just buy it in Chinatown.

Seitan or gluten can also be purchased in many health food stores and it can be used to satisfy any vegetarian's hankering for barbecue. Slice or dice the gluten and simmer in your favorite barbecue sauce. Serve in a tortilla, a bun, or on your plate.

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