This seitan recipe is very similar to a recipe called "Colonel Schmolonel's Fried Seitan" from my first book. It's a slight upgrade of the *ahem* original recipe in terms of flavor, texture, and simplicity. Since I spent WAY too much time trying get the internet help me figure out the difference between the terms "chicken-fried" and "country-fried" (if anyone can enlighten me, I'd appreciate it), I do not have time to post the entire meal here. The recipe for the greens, and mashed potatoes are pretty simple and you can find them in The Sexy Vegan Cookbook: Extraordinary Food from an Ordinary Dude (hint, hint). What I'll provide here, is the recipe for the best fried seitan I've ever made, and the only super easy gravy recipe that you need to know about. Here we go!
the tender side of seitan
1 small potato (about 6 ounces), peeled and quartered
1/2 cup vegetable stock, cold or at room temperature
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup vital wheat gluten flour
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 tablespoons chickpea flour
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
batter and fry
3 cups plain, unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons hot sauce (Frank's, Louisiana, Crystal, etc.)
2 cups all-purpose flour (plus 1 separate cup of flour that will go into the wet ingredients later)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic (powder is ok too)
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
You'll also need lots of vegetable or other high-heat oil for frying.
In a measuring cup, add the wet ingredients and stir together. Let rest on the counter for at least 10 minutes. The milk will begin to curdle and sour. Ta-da! Vegan buttermilk. Place your cutlets in a glass casserole or some sort of vessel, and pour the wet mix over them to cover. It's best to marinate them in this mix for at least 30 minutes at room temperature, or up to 2 hours covered with plastic in the fridge.
In a mixing bowl or wide shallow plate, mix together all of the dry ingredients (except that "1 separate cup of flour" which will be added to the wet mix momentarily), until combined.
Now is when you should begin to heat your oil. In a large, wide skillet (preferably cast-iron), add oil until it is about 1/2 inch deep. Heat on medium. Battering the cutlets is not something to be done in advance, the coating will become gummy. You've got to fry them immediately after battering.
The Double-Dredge: Do these 1 at a time.
1. Dredge a cutlet in the dry mix. Shake off the excess.
2. Dip the cutlet into the wet mix. Let the excess fall away.
3. Dredge cutlet into the dry mix. Shake off the excess.
4. Dip cutlet back into the wet mix. Let the excess fall away
5. Dredge one last time in the dry mix. Shake off excess.
Gently lower your cutlets into the oil. Do as many as you can fit in your pan without overcrowding. My pan could only fit two. Fry on one side 3 to 5 minutes, until golden. Increase the heat to medium high at this point to make sure it remains at a high temperature. Then carefully flip, and fry 3 to 5 minutes on the other side. You can batter the next batch while the first one fries.
Have a wire rack with a paper towel underneath, or just a plate with a paper towel, on which to deposit your fried seitan. Once you take them out of the pan, hit them with a pinch of salt and a couple grinds of pepper. Once the oil drains, you can place them on a wire rack in a low oven to keep them warm, and prevent them from becoming soggy. Serve with mashed potatoes, garlicky greens, and The Good Gravy (recipe below).
Here's a handy slideshow. It only shows 1 round of dredging, but just do it twice, like I said.
the good gravy
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 teaspoon fresh, chopped)
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
4 cups vegetable stock, warmed
salt and pepper to taste
In a small sauce pan, melt the margarine over medium heat, then add the garlic, thyme, and celery seed. Cook the garlic 2 to 3 minutes, then stir in the flour to make a roux. It should become a bit pasty. Let the roux cook, stirring continuously, for 3 to 4 minutes, until it is a light blonde color. Slowly stir in the vegetable stock, and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer 10 minutes or until it's thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm on low, until you're ready to serve it...and by "serve it" I mean smother your entire plate with it. Enjoy!