I recently picked up a copy of Jenn Shagrin's cookbook, Veganize This! I was very excited because the book gives recipes for flavoring seitan in ways that imitate meat. For those of us that grew up as meat eaters, and what I maintain now to non-vegans, it isn't the meat we miss, it is the flavors. So if I can find away to duplicate them cruelty-free, I'm all over it.
I chose to make the recipe for pork chops. Her flavoring broths are the key, and have a long list of ingredients. That has never put me off, so I set off for the task.
I made the seitan and broth as she outlines in the recipe. The smell was heavenly! Later, when I was frying the chops the first time, it very much reminded me of the smell of pork chops.
After that all resemblance ended, and I'll detail here my findings.
Maple Seitan Chops
2 T. brown sugar
1/4 c. maple syrup
1 T. grated ginger
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
In my first attempt, I used Shagrin's recipe for the chops and cut the seitan into pie shaped wedges and smooshed them as flat as I could get. I fried them first in olive oil, then mixed up the above sauce recipe and added it to the frying pan. The maple sauce cooked up fast and became more glaze than sauce.
The result was a beautiful looking chop with a maple-y glaze. The wheat taste, however, was too pronounced for my liking.
Back to the drawing board. Some research into seitan chop recipes and reducing the wheat-y taste suggested adding chickpea flour to the mix. Other comments included making the seitan, not the broth, the flavor.
In my second attempt, I added 3:1 ratio of vital wheat gluten:chickpea flour and threw in some diced onion and garlic. I reused the broth from the first chops. The dough, despite my best efforts, was too damp to cut into the pie shapes, so I put the ball of uncooked seitan into the broth. After an hour and letting it cool a bit, I sliced it and put the sliced seitan into a baggie with the above sauce ingredients to marinate. I let it marinate overnight. I then fried the sliced seitan in olive oil.
The result was a more subtle maple flavor and no discernible wheat taste. I liked the flavor much better, but did love the pork chop shape from the first chops. I'll need to play around with it some more, but definitely feel the addition of chickpea flour to the vital wheat gluten makes for a better tasting product. I will probably leave out the onion and garlic and see it that makes it less wet and more manageable so I can cut it into a chop shape.