Mmmm… Chris Perrin is back this month with his recipe for Braised Asian Lemon Seitan to make you tastebuds do a Happy Dance, while you feel all healthy and full of nutritional virtue! When our favourite certified cook isnt busy serving up veg*n goodies at DomestikGoddess.com, Chris writes for BIAO Magazine, food-blogs at Blog Well Done, and is working on his own vegan cookbook. Enjoy! ~ Jen
Braised Asian Lemon Seitan
Braising is one of my favorite cooking techniques. It’s a wonderful way to get a bunch of flavor into a dish and it’s really simple. The good news is that seitan, my favorite vegan meat replacement, with its firm texture, stands up to braising extremely well. In fact, a good braise can loosen the sietan, make it more receptive to the juices you’re cooking it in, and improve the overall texture.
For those not familiar with the term braising, it means cooking food partially submerged in a flavorful liquid. The most important part is the “partially submerged”. The food is not completely covered by cooking liquid (that’s boiling or stewing). Instead, the food is usually covered half way so that the bottom is in the liquid, while the top is exposed to the air. The second most important part is “flavorful liquid” because whatever you are cooking will absorb the tastes of the liquid in which it’s cooked. Good braising liquid makes for a great braised dish. We’re going to use that to our advantage!
3 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
1 package seitan
1 lemon, juiced and zested
6 green onions
1 medium onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce (can substitute regular)
1 tablespoon Sichuan bean paste
8 tablespoons broth*
*Depending on the size of your pot, you may need more or less broth. The key is that the food is only covered halfway with liquid.
Put two tablespoons of olive oil in a high sided skillet over high heat and wait for the oil to get hot. Add the seitan and lemon juice and cook 5-6 minutes per side. Sauteing the seitan first gives it a better flavor and improves the texture after the braise. Remove the seitan from the pan and set aside.
Cut the greens of the green onions into 2 inch pieces and finely slice the whites of the green onions.
Put the final tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet, turn down the heat to medium-high, and let it get hot. Once hot, add the diced onions, green pepper, carrot, and the whites of the green onion. Saute until the green onions turn soft, maybe 5-6 minutes. Then add the green onion and cook for 30 seconds.
Add the soy sauce, dark soy sauce, bean paste, lemon zest, and the seitan. Then start adding the broth. You should need about 8 tablespoons, but pour slowly to make sure the food is only half covered. Mix well.
Cover the skillet and let the liquid come to a boil. Cook uncovered for 3-4 minutes after that and then flip. Cook for another 3-4 minutes.
Serve in a nice bowl over rice or noodles and enjoy!
For more of what is going in Chris’ lunchbox, on his dinner table, and on his party menus, as well as thoughts on food and culture, food in the media, and even the occasional recipe featuring meat, check out Chris’ food blog, Blog Well Done.