While I was on holiday in Los Angeles at the end of last year, my wonderful cousin took my mum and I out to a vegan restaurant called Native Foods Cafe. It was my first time dining at a vegan restaurant and so I struggled big time trying to decide on what to order. After much umming and ahhing, I decided on a dish called the Soul Bowl (named so because it was hearty Southern style food). It was with this meal that I discovered a vegan meat substitute called seitan (say-tan), as well as the deliciousness of cornbread.
On the counter were Native Foods cookbooks for sale, and like any newbie vegan willing to explore, I bought the book so that I could have more of this seitan which I had never heard of before that night. It turns out that seitan has been around for a while and there are many recipes using it in all the cookbooks I now own.
Seitan is made from gluten flour. It has a similar texture to chicken and is more chewy than tofu and tempeh. I've only attempted to cook seitan tonight because I've been on a search of gluten flour since returning home from America at the beginning of January. In all of my recipe books, gluten flour is called gluten vital wheat flour and so I spent most of the time walking past the 'gluten flour' not knowing that it was what I needed.
I pulled out my trustworthy Veganomicon cookbook and used their simple seitan recipe. It was super quick and easy to make and I paired the 'meat' with a sweet onion sauce, also from the same cookbook. Since going vegan, I haven't missed eating meat, so I don't think I'll feel the need to cook this up all the time, but I have missed using a steak knife.
The Veganomicon book also has a recipe for chickpea seitan cutlets which they say will "take over food blogs worldwide". Challenge accepted. We'll see just how good this recipe is, so watch this space.