Hey everyone! It’s my fifth vegan birthday this week! That’s right! I’ve been vegan for five years since YESTERDAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
Anyway, I have a few fun blog posts planned, and the first one I wanted to get out there is this baby. Mostly because it feels like a while since I’ve shared a recipe with you all on here. So I saved a REALLY GOOD ONE. Seriously.
I wanted to make deep fried seitan chicken ever since Tsouni from @yesitsallvegan made it for me back in 2015. Tsouni has been vegan a few years longer than me so she has these kinda recipes down now, and she made it look much easier than it is. Anyway, this recipe is the culmination of about two weeks of practising making seitan from scratch. And no, it’s not easy. I’m not even gonna pretend it’s easy in a way that will hopefully trick you into trying to make it yourself and then realise it’s not easy.
It’s just not easy.
But it is REWARDING and I think among about a handful of proper vegan-arsenal-kinda-recipes where the motivation for being able to make seitan from scratch is that you can then do SO MUCH ELSE. You don’t have to rely on your fave seitan thing being in stock in your local health food shop or whatever. You just need to stockpile some vital gluten flour and get practising.
So I spent £30 on the stuff towards the end of last year and started practising like crazy. I’ve now learnt how to make seitan roast, seitan pieces for curries and seitan pieces to deep fry.
My one recommendation with this cornflake chicken recipe below is that you experiment with making seitan first, before having all your mates around for homemade vegan KFC. Because it does take a few goes to get it right, and you need to get a bit of a feel for it, but it is totally worth it.
Below I’ve listed the seitan recipe that will get you lots of pieces to do what you want with, and then the quick cornflake chicken recipe afterwards, so you can continue on to that stage if you’d like.
Making seitan from scratch
For the seitan dough:
250g vital wheat gluten (I like using Bob’s Red Mill brand)
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
For the broth:
1.4 litres of vegetable stock
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1. In a large mixing bowl, add the vital wheat gluten, the onion, garlic and the rest of the dried herbs, and then combine with 350ml water. You may need a little more- the minute it resembles a soft sponge, and there’s no dry gluten left in your bowl, you’ve got enough.
2. Bring your broth of vegetable stock, soy sauce and a little oil to the boil in a large pan (it’s helpful if you have a lid for it too).
3. As that’s happening, quickly need the seitan dough for about 30 seconds. Then begin to chop into chunks. Bitesize is about right- they’ll grow bigger when they’ve been simmered.
4. Turn the heat right down on the broth so it’s a really gentle simmer. This is really important because if it’s too high you’re going to boil away the seitan so it goes really loose.
5. Place all the seitan pieces straight into the broth, give them a quick stir to make sure nothing has stuck to the side of the pan, and then partially cover.
6. Leave on a gentle simmer for 1 hour. This is the ideal time to get other items in your meal ready, or just to chill out! Check every ten minutes that the stock isn’t beginning to boil.
7. After an hour, drain the seitan from the stock, then using the bottom of a bowl, press out the remaining liquid from the seitan- this will give you a drier texture and make sure it’s not too spongey.
8. Leave on kitchen roll for the seitan pieces to continue to drain a little of their excess water, and get started on the rest of your meal.
Some notes on cornflake seitan ‘chicken’
- This is a perfect recipe for things like birthday meals or special occasions but do practise before you make this for the first time, especially because...
- ...The cornflake batter works best when it is super fresh, so you’ll need to be confident with making these with a crowd around, which can get tricky, I know!
- My absolute favourite way to serve this is really messy style! That’s a proper style! Honestly! So basically I tape sheets of greaseproof paper to the dining table and then put stacks of salad, dressing, coleslaw, dips and gherkins across the table, and then add bowls of potato wedges and the seitan chicken pieces. Then when you’re done, just get rid of your table cloth and you’ve basically cleaned up. Kinda.
- Some serving suggestions: For these photos I made a quick coleslaw with shredded red cabbage, carrot and kale, plus a little olive oil, vegan garlic mayo, juice of one lime and some salt and pepper. I also made a kale crema dip by just blending kale, soy cream and a little lemon juice with some salt and pepper to season. Oh, and vegan mac-no-cheese and potato wedges and a salad. Yup.
For the cornflake seitan ‘chicken’:
About 200g cornflakes, bashed or blended
Salt and pepper for seasoning
8tsp of egg replacer like Orgran
Around 100ml water
Oil for frying
You’ll also need: kitchen roll to drain off the excess oil.
1. Mix the cornflakes and salt and pepper and pour into a large bowl.
2. In another bowl, combine the egg replacer and water until it makes a paste similar to water and icing sugar- it should just about coat a spoon, but not be at all stiff when stirred.
3. Fill a small pan with oil, about ⅔ of the way up to the top.
4. Test to see if the oil is ready by dropping a small amount of the cornflake mix in- if it sizzles and rises to the top, it’s ready.
5. Working one at a time, dunk the seitan pieces in the egg placer and then into the cornflake mix.
6. Then, using tongs or a slotted spoon, gently lower it into the oil.
7. Allow to deep fry for about two minutes- the cornflakes should start to just go a darker brown, you don’t want them any more fried than that. Then remove and place on a large plate or tray covered in kitchen roll.
8. Repeat with all pieces of the seitan until they are all fried, and serve straight away.