You'll be amazed how simple it is to make your own vegan Seitan Chicken! Once you have mastered the basic recipe, you can then make it in batches. This basic recipe is then ready to marinate and BBQ, add to stews and pasta, or even make your own vegan chicken enchiladas, skewers or salads. Even better is that this method does not require loads of lengthy washing, meaning less mess and water wastage.
The beauty of making your own seitan, is that you know exactly what is in it, it's definitely cheaper than buying pre-packaged stuff and you cut down on packaging waste.
This Basic Vegan Seitan Chicken is super versatile. It makes quite a plain 'chicken' flavour, but I think that's perfect, as it allows you to use the high-protein vegan chicken in loads of different ways. Why not try it with these Easy Vegan Hoisin Seitan Ch'kn Bao or marinaded and on the BBQ like this Peri Peri BBQ Seitan Chicken
🍗What is seitan?
Seitan is made from vital wheat gluten. also known as VWG or Gluten Powder. The backbone of any seitan is a product called wheat gluten (wheat protein). The gluten in any wheat is what creates the elasticity and bounce you find in bread. This method of making Seitan Chicken uses Vital Wheat Gluten rather than requiring you to wash plain flour until you are left with the gluten (protein). I find it less messy to deal with and for me is a faster way of achieving the same result. It also means you can easily add flavour into the seitan itself. Vital Wheat Gluten looks like flour and is readily available online and through health food stores.
These are the key ingredients for this seitan chicken:
Vital Wheat Gluten - see details above.
White Beans - you can choose to use any white beans in this recipe. Using a white bean rather than kidney or chickpeas ensures you end up with a lovely white colour, that I think really resembles chicken! Bonus is that by incorporating beans into the seitan, is that it gives you another protein source.
Onions & Garlic- I like to use fresh onions and garlic in my recipe, rather than the powered versions used in some. Firstly, I tend to have them to hand, and secondly, I prefer the flavour they bring.
White Wine or Cider Vinegar- This helps eliminate any floury taste that can occur with some VWG.
White Miso- Adds savouriness and depth of flavour. The colour helps keep the seitan chicken looking lovely and creamy-white. White miso is a staple in my cupboard and available online, in healthfood stores and supermarkets.
Here's you make the seitan chicken:
1. Mixing the seitan
- First you want to whizz up all the ingredients except for the vital wheat gluten in a blender, adding enough water so it becomes 700ml (2 ¾ cups) in total liquid.
2) Add this to the vital wheat gluten
3) Mix together so all the liquid and VWG is incorporated.
4) Leave for 15- 20 minutes to allow the VWG to absorb the liquid.
5.Then knead your dough. You can do this by hand (takes ages!) or simply pop in your stand mixer or food processor with a dough hook/attachment.
6. Knead for around 15-20 minutes until smooth strings form. You can now steam your seitan!
2. Steaming the seitan chicken
- Once the seitan chicken dough is smooth and stringy, shape it into a loaf.
2) To keep the seitan chicken from bursting out as it cooks, it needs to be double wrapped in foil. Leave a little room for it to expand, but not too much!
3. Using a large pot with a trivet (or your Instant pot if you have one) Steam the seitan with the lid on for 2 hours.
4. Remove the seitan loaf from the steam and let it cool. For best results leave overnight in the fridge. Shred your Seitan Chicken and use in your yummy recipes.
TOP TIP! Make sure to cool the seitan overnight for the best shreddy chicken texture.
🌿Substitutions and Variations
- Small chicken 'fillet' packages: Make individual sized 'seitan chicken fillets' by making the dough into smaller parcels. Great for marinating and grilling.
- Different Beans: You can use chickpeas, cannellini beans or butter beans in this recipe to keep that plain 'chicken' colour. If you don't care about the colour of the seitan, use any bean you like.
- Flavourings: If you want to flavour up the seitan chicken itself, rather than marinating later, add your favourite herbs or spices. Seitan can take really BIG flavours so don't be shy when adding them in.
These are the questions we tend to get asked about making seitan chicken:
You can do it by hand, however it is MUCH easier to use a machine.
Absolutely! If you have a nice big one, then a bamboo steamer works just as well as my old pot with trivet method.
Yes - lots of people use instant pots to steam seitan. It will take around 1 hour 20 mins in an instant pot.
I created this recipe to be very plain, so you can make anything you would use chicken breast or chunks for. Yes you can eat it just out of the steamer, but it really tastes best when marinated or cooked with something else.
Yes it freezes very well. This recipe makes quite a lot, so freeze in portions ready to use in your mid-week cooking.
🍜When to use & recipe ideas!
This seitan chicken is super plain, so it really lends itself to using anywhere you would have used plain chicken! You can:
Basic Vegan Seitan Chicken (No Wash Method)
For accuracy, I measure all ingredients in metric as standard, then convert and test the recipe for American cup measurements etc.
(Heads up Aussie and UK readers- your measurements in cups are sometimes different, so please use metric or check you have the correct cup and spoon type!!)
For the Seitan
- 250 g (2 cups) Vital Wheat Gluten
Blender Ingredients: Make to 700ml/2.75 Cups total liquid
- 300 g (10 ⅗ oz) White Beans (Equivlant to 1 tin/can- include the liquid in it. If you're using home-cooked beans, add extra water to gain the 700ml / 2¾ cups total)
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sunflower or rapeseed oil (or other neutral oil: NOT coconut)
- 1 tablespoon white miso (white miso is best to keep a whiter colour, but other miso is fine)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 250 ml (1 ⅛ cups) water (**NB you might need more or less water, the aim is to make the TOTAL liquid content once blended to 700ml / 2¾ cups)
- First whizz up all the ingredients (include the water from the tin of beans) except for the Vital Wheat Gluten in a blender until smooth and creamy.300 g White Beans, 1 onion, 3 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon sunflower or rapeseed oil, 1 tablespoon white miso, 1 teaspoon salt, 250 ml water
- You want 700 ml / 2¾ cups of liquid total, so if it is a bit less once the beans and onions are processed, add a little more.
- In a large bowl, gently combine the liquid from the blender and the Vital Wheat Gluten.250 g Vital Wheat Gluten
- Mix and leave to rest for 15-20 minutes to allow the liquid to absorb into the gluten properly (this forms better strands).
- Now knead the dough in a mixer or food processor (or by hand) until you have smooth, very stringy elastic dough. About 15 minutes.
- Form the dough into a loaf, then double wrap in foil.
- Steam the seitan in a large pot with a trivet, or using a bamboo steamer for 1½ hours (be careful not to let the pot boil dry).
- Once steamed, let cool and then shred. Even better, let it rest overnight in the fridge for the best SHREDS!