Monday, November 26, 2012

Adventures with Seitan and Pea Protein

The vegan restaurants in Los Angeles are so good that people who are not vegan eat there. I sampled a wide variety of faux meats, each more satisfying (and mystifying) than the last. I noticed that Native Foods listed pea protein as one of their ingredients, so this morning I decided to experiment with pea protein, gluten, and nutritional yeast, just to see what would happen.

I wouldn't be writing about this experiment if I were not so intrigued by the results.

Here's my simple recipe. 1/2 cup gluten, 1/4 cup pea protein, 1/8 cup nutritional yeast, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, and one cup vegetable broth (I used "better than bullion," and next time I think I'll use a little less than one cup broth, and a smaller amount of pea protein). I mixed all the dry stuff together, ladled in the broth, 1/4 cup at a time, and kneaded the dough for a while. I separated the dough into four pieces and simmered the pieces in more broth on very low heat for a little over an hour.

I was surprised (and disappointed) to find that the patties were gloopy, but was relieved that they still held together. I plopped the un-named things on a plate, thought about it for a second,

and then I heated some olive oil in a non-stick pan, and dropped two of the gloopy patties in, where they cooked up all golden brown. After a few minutes and some turning and flattening, their gloopiness transformed into an almost veal-like tenderness.

They tasted delicious. Really.

I'll let you know how they reheat, because I'm having some more for dinner!

These creations have an almost Latke-like quality. Perhaps I'll try adding some potatoes to the mixture, and see if I can make some vegan latkes that taste good and don't fall apart!


[This recipe is much better NOT reheated! The outside is fine, and the flavor is fine, but the inside gloopyness is kind of amplified in the reheat. I tried making this again, omitting the nutritional yeast and reducing the pea protein to a mere tablespoon, but they patties were too chewy, and they wouldn't flatten. Next time I'll try using one tablespoon of nutritional yeast, and using 1/4 cup of pea protein (which I think gives it the good flavor). I'll keep you posted . . . right here.]


{{{This works GREAT as a basis for latkes.}}}

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