One-Bowl Semolina Seitan

This first one is made with semolina; it's quick, simple and foolproof.
It makes about 9.5 ounces of cooked seitan, plenty for any of the following suggestions to make 3-4 servings.
I should mention that if I reasonably ignore the cost of my labor and the ingredients other than for the semolina, this recipe can be made for less than $0.50.
Toss in the rest of the ingredients, and it probably hits a dollar.

Caution: This recipe will only work as described with pure,unadulterated durum semolina, so you need to get it from a reliable source.
I've found that some "semolina" available in bulk at some health-food stores is made from softer wheat, or may be cut with cornmeal.

3-4 serves


Simmering Broth:


Combine semolina and hot water in a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon for about 4-5 minutes, until the dough comes together in a semi-solid glutinous mass. Add cold water from the tap in a gentle stream, covering the dough by 2 to 3 inches.
Using your hand, begin to compact the dough by gently lifting it from the edges and rotating the mass through the water for a couple of minutes.
Don't run your fingers through the developing gluten or you'll fragment it. The free starch will begin to dissolve, and the remaining mass of gluten will start to congeal. Let rest for 5 minutes to allow the water to come to the top.

[Note: If the gluten doesn't begin to hold together at this stage, and the water separates into a white, starchy liquid, covered by a layer of clear yellowish fluid, you probably don't have pure durum semolina.]

Gently pour off the starchy water, using your hand to prevent the gluten from slipping over the edge of the bowl.
Repeat the above process: cover with cold water, collect and gently knead the gluten into a cohesive mass, let rest for 2-5 minutes more.
Drain off the water, as above. Repeat for the last time: cover with cold water, lightly knead in the bowl and let rest for another 2-5 minutes. Drain again, as above. By now, the gluten should hold together in a single "blob."
Allow the drained gluten to sit in the now-empty bowl, pressing and turning it a few times, for a final 5-10 minutes.
As the trapped water escapes the uncooked seitan and settles at the bottom of the bowl, drain it off. Remove the seitan to a flat workspace, like a countertop, and knead as though it were bread dough for 30 or 40 turns.
Blot up released water with paper towels. Knead gently to avoid tearing the developed gluten. The uncooked seitan will be elastic, almost rubbery, and it won't combine into a smooth homogeneous dough like bread; with little residual starch, it will resist your best efforts to make a tight, solid ball, so don't fight it with a lot of pressure.
When the gluten begins to stick to the countertop, flatten it with the heel of your hand into a uniform patty, roughly 6 inches in diameter and a half to three-quarters of an inch thick.
Bring a suitable pot of water to a rolling boil, and add the seitan patty. Let boil for 5 minutes, watching to make sure it doesn't boil over.
Remove the seitan to a plate to cool a bit and to drain.
Use the same pot and combine all of the ingredients for the simmering broth. You can use either fresh water or the water from the initial boiling. Bring broth to a rolling boil, add the pre-cooked seitan, lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and barely simmer for 20-30 minutes. Carefully remove the soft finished seitan to a plate with a large slotted spoon and let cool. Save the simmering broth.

Now, what you do with the seitan is up to you. 
You can:

  1. Slice it into stir-fry size strips and treat it as you would tofu.
  2. Cut it into quarters and prepare as an omnivore might to make "Chicken Parmesan," by dipping in eggs (or egg replacers), seasoned breadcrumbs, sauteeing in a little olive oil and baking in a pan with tomato sauce under and over, with a little mozzarella on top. Skip the baking bit, and use the breaded patties in sandwiches topped with a slice of ripe tomato, onion, and Provolone cheese.
  3. Season plain breadcrumbs with only salt, pepper, a bit of thyme and sage
    Dip the patties in egg replacers, then into this mixture, sautee in canola oil; make a veggie-mushroom gravy and mashed potatoes, and it becomes "Chicken-Fried Steak" dinner - without the steak.
  4. Cut up in chunks, prepare as in #2, above, and it's "Chicken Nuggets."
  5. Cut into bite-sized pieces. Strain the solids out of the reserved simmering broth and replace with a few pieces of bok choy, some grated or sliced ginger, a few snow peas and mushroom slices, a sprig of (ugh!) cilantro, a couple of scallion pieces, reheat the whole mess, and you have a vegetarian approximation of "wonton soup," sans pork. Add a couple of shiitake mushrooms for the missing texture and for added color and flavor.
  6. Slice up the carrots and celery from the original simmering broth, cut the seitan into bite-sized pieces, reheat the whole thing, sprinkle over a little Parmigiano Reggiano, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and a simple faux "Tortellini en Brodo" is yours, without the traditional ricotta, eggs and labor to shape.
  7. Through 1001: 
    Use your imagination!

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