Chinese Seitan Making 101 (ok, maybe 201)

Gluten! An absolutely fantastic ingredient that you can do so much with.

0:00 - Background of Gluten Production
1:21 - High Level Overview
2:05 - Making the Seitan Base
3:20 - Making the Firm Style
4:26 - Using the Firm Style to Make Cumin Fried Gluten
6:55 - Making the Spongy Style
8:00 - Using the Spongy Style to Make 'Four Joys'
11:20 - How to Store?
11:35 - What to do with the Starch?


* AP Flour (), 500g
* Salt, 2g
* Water, 275g

Mix the above ingredients until combined, let it sit - covered - for 40 minutes.

Knead for ~8 minutes, then let it rest for another 15.

'Wash' the gluten by kneading it underwater. Change the water when it gets creamy looking. Repeat 5-6 times, or until the starch liquid looks more 'skim milk' than 'cream'. Place in a strainer and let it rest for at least 20 minutes.


This recipe will use half of the above 'Gluten Base'.

Slice the gluten into 2-3 pieces. Shape each piece into ~8 inch logs, then relax for 10 minutes.

Wrap the gluten around a chopstick to shape. Boil the sticks for twelve minutes, then shock with cool water.


* Sugar, 1/4 tsp
* Dry instant yeast (), 1/8 tsp

Fold the sugar and yeast into the gluten base. Shape into a ball, place in an oiled bowl. Cover, ferment for one hour.

Place the bowl in a steaming set-up. Steam for 16 minutes over a medium-high flame. Shut off the heat, and let everything chill inside the pot for at least a half hour.

Remove the gluten from the bowl.


* Spice Mix: Cumin (), 1 tsp; Sichuan pepper (), 1/2 tsp
* Firm, fresh seitan (), 150g
* Oil, preferably sunflower or caiziyou, 1.5 tbsp
* Garlic, two cloves, minced
* Medium green chilis, two, cut into strips
* Medium onion, half, sliced
* Five spice powder ()
* Chinese chili powder -or- cayenne pepper
* Soy sauce (), 1 tsp
* Seasoning: salt, 1/4 tsp; sugar, 1/4 tsp; MSG (), 1/4 tsp

'Half pound' the cumin and the Sichuan peppercorn - your goal is to basically crack them open like at 4:08. Set aside.

Tear the gluten into strips roughly shredded chicken size. Blanch for one minute. Cool the seitan down under some cool water, and give it a good squeeze to remove the moisture.

Then, toast the gluten. Get the wok piping hot, shut off the heat, then sprinkle the gluten on. Toast over a medium high heat roughly one minute on each side. There will be some intense stickage do not panic, this is normal. Simply scrape what to can together with the gluten. Once browned, scooch up the side of the wok.

Add the oil together with the garlic. Fry until fragrant, ~15 seconds. Add the half-pounded spices, and fry that all together until fragrant. Add the chili pepper and the onion, quick fry, then mix everything together. Quick ~30 second stir fry, then add in the five spice powder and the chili powder. Quick mix. Swirl in the soy sauce over the spatula and around the sides of the wok. Add the seasoning, mix, done.


* Dried shiitake (), 20g
* Dried wood ear mushroom (), 20g
* Dried day lily (), 15g
* Dried peanuts, 20g
* Spongy fresh gluten (), 150g
* Soy sauce (), 2 tbsp
* Dark soy sauce (), 1 tsp
* Sugar, 4 tsp
* Seasoning: salt, 1/4 tsp; MSG (), 1/4 tsp (or to taste)

Soak the four dried ingredients with cool water in separate bowls for three hours.

After that time, prep the ingredients. Squeeze the shiitake, remove the stems, and cut into ~1/2 inch chunks. Strain and reserve the shiitake soaking liquid. Tear the wood ear into similar sized pieces. Line up and remove the hard end from the dried day lily.

To prep the spongy gluten, first tear it into half inch chunks. Blanch for one minute, cool down under running water, and *really* squeeze it as dry as possible.

In a wok with ~1.5 cups oil, toss in the blanched gluten with the flame still off. Slowly fry while stirring over a medium flame. Your goal is for the gluten to turn a light golden brown color, ~8-12 minutes. Remove and strain the gluten. Dump the oil out from the wok, leaving only a thin shmear remaining.

Same wok, flame on medium high, fry the shiitake chunks until fragrant, ~30 seconds. Add in the shiitake soaking liquid. Add in the other three dried ingredients together with the deep fried gluten. Add enough water so that everything is barely submerged. Add in the sugar and the soy sauces.

Cover (or cover with the lid ajar if the lid is heavy and tight fitting), braise on medium low for 20 minutes.

After the 20 minutes. Add in the seasoning, or to taste. Up the flame to high and let the sauce rapidly reduce, until the sauce can cling to the ingredients and develops a bit of a sheen.

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Found via My Analog Journal (great channel):
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