Spicy Seitan "Pepper Steaks"

This is one of our FAVORITE recipes. And it's a real treat because we don't have seitan very often because it's a bit time consuming to make. This isn't really a recipe I would expect omnivores to make just because seitan is one of the "weird" things us vegans eat. The first time I had it I really didn't like it (I thought it tasted like play dough). But THEN, Isa Chandra Moskowitz came into my life via her recipe book, Vegan With A Vengeance and I discovered the best seitan recipe everrrrrr. In my opinion, the bottom line with seitan is as follows: Don't even bother trying it unless you're willing to make it from scratch. And then enjoy because it will blow your mind the way it does mine every time I have it.

First we'll start with the seitan recipe (FYI it's pronounced "say-tan", emphasis on the "say")


2 cups vital wheat gluten flour
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup cold water or vegetable broth (I always use broth)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed or grated on a Microplane grater
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

12 cups water or vegetable broth (I always use 12 cups of water and about 3 big tablespoons of Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base)
1/2 cup soy sauce

1. In a large bowl, mix together the wheat gluten flour, nutritional yeast, and all-purpose flour. In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients through the lemon zest.

2. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and combine with a firm spatula. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes until spongy and elastic. Let the dough rest for a couple of minutes.

At this point it should look something like this:

3. While the dough is resting, stir together the ingredients for the broth in a large stockpot (do not boil at this time).

4. Roll the dough into a log shape about 10 inches long and cut it into 6 pieces of roughly equal size. Place the pieces in the broth. It is important that the broth be very cold when you add the dough, which makes for a nicer texture and ensures that the seitan doesn't fall apart. Partially cover the pot (leave a little space for steam to escape) and bring to a boil.

5. When the broth has come to a boil, set the heat to low and simmer for an hour, turning the pieces every now and again.

6. Turn off the heat and let the broth and seitan cool for at least 30 minutes (I'm usually a little too impatient to wait the full 30 minutes and it's ok). However, if you let it sit and cool in the broth, it will be firmer.

When it's finished, it should resemble this:

I use half of the seitan from this recipe to make my pepper steaks. I put the other half in tupperware and cover with the broth it was cooked in. It will be good for up to 5 days. Usually I will just stir fry the left overs and it's delish.

Now, for the "Pepper Steak" recipe (Note: I keep putting "Pepper Steak" in quotes because it's not really like a steak. For some reason this is just what we call this recipe. I guess because it has peppers and little steak-like strips.) Anyway, I originally got this recipe from vegweb.com (which is an AWESOME source for vegan recipes) and have made a few of my own adaptations.

(Serves 4-6)

Half of the seitan from the above recipe cut into 1" strips
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup onion cut into half rings
2-3 cloves of garlic pressed or chopped
1 tsp. fresh ground ginger
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 dashes chili garlic sauce (or whatever hot sauce you prefer)
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 cup vegetable broth
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
3 bell peppers (I usually get a red, yellow, and orange)
2 tbsp. corn starch
1/4 cup cold water
2 tbsp. soy sauce
4-6 cups cooked rice

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add salt and pepper and seitan strips. Saute strips for about 7 minutes, or until lightly browned.

2. Add garlic and ginger and saute for another minute or two. Add the vegetable broth and then cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

3. Mix in the tomatoes, peppers, cayenne, and hot sauce. Cook for about 10 minutes uncovered.

4. Mix together the corn starch, cold water, and soy sauce. Bring pepper mixture to a boil and add corn starch mixture. Stir until thick. Serve over rice.