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RECIPE: Meaty Vegan Sausages


High gluten flour is a magical ingredient for creating meat-free 'meaty' dishes called seitan. Make these Easy Seitan Sausages for your next BBQ. And find out what seitan is all about.


Sometimes you just feel like a really hearty old-fashioned meal. And this recipe certainly hits the spot. I can almost imagine myself in a country pub eating a big plate of ‘bangers and mash.’ Except without harming any animal and damaging my health. You can whip this up so easily, no fuss. But if you have a sensitivity to gluten, this isn’t the recipe for you I’m afraid! It is made with high gluten flour.

"If you’re new to the world of seitan, you may be wondering what it means. Also called ‘wheat gluten’ or ‘wheat meat’ this wonderful alternative has been around for centuries.”

If you’re new to the world of seitan, you may be wondering what it means. Also called ‘wheat gluten’ or ‘wheat meat’ this wonderful alternative has been around for centuries. Although seitan (meaning ‘from protein’ in Japanese) is a more recent word for wheat meat, it is said to have originated centuries ago in China as a meat substitute in Buddhist culture. Either way, it is now a popular alternative in many cuisines and it has eventually found its way into Western culture, delighting many vegetarians with its texture. Seitan can be made into many things, from sausages, roasts, cutlets, steaks, mince...anything you can think of really. You can buy seitan pre-made but I like to cook it from scratch.


One of the easier ways to cook seitan, in my opinion, is as sausages, using the steaming method. I have experimented with other cooking methods for different seitan ‘meats’ and this one is always fool-proof.


But first, a note on gluten flour. Not all gluten flours are created equal, and this often depends on where you live and the brand you buy. You want a gluten flour that is high in protein and low in carbs. A commonly named high protein gluten flour is called Vital Wheat Gluten. If you find yourself a package of that – that’s the stuff you want! You don’t want a gluten flour that has been mixed with another flour (which often makes it less pure, and therefore, has less gluten). Last year, when I wanted to make a seitan roast for Christmas, I couldn’t find any Vital Wheat Gluten or High Gluten Flour, so I visited a bakery. They were lovely enough to sell me some pure gluten flour (which they add to their breads). So there is always a way. Thank you staff at my local Bakers Delight.


Enjoy these sausages any way you like. It is an excellent family meal. I love them on a bed of mashed potato with home made gravy and a side of greens. Or chop up into chucks and add to pastas, stews, risottos, salads.


Seitan Sausages




INGREDIENTS


1½ cups gluten flour (ensure it is pure gluten flour or use ‘vital wheat gluten’)

½ cup chickpea flour

1¾  cups water + 1 ‘beef’ flavoured stock cube dissolved

2 T nutritional yeast flakes

1 T garlic powder

1 T onion powder

1 T tamari/soy sauce

1 tsp dried mixed herbs

1 tsp black pepper

few drops liquid smoke (optional)

Optional extras: paprika, chilli powder, cayenne pepper, other spices and herbs.


METHOD


Into a large bowl, add all the dry ingredients and stir to combine.


Making a well in the centre of the dry mix, pour in the liquid ingredients. Now mix all the ingredients together with a large spoon until it starts to become one large mass. You will end up with a spongy kind of dough.


Using your hands, knead the dough for approximately 1 minute. If the mixture is too wet, add a little more flour. And vice versa if it is too dry.


Now the dough is ready, you are going to form the sausages. Breaking off a golf-ball sized piece (or perhaps a little larger if you like!) roll the piece into your desired sausage shape. The shape doesn’t have to be perfect, as it will expand a little during cooking. Choose the shape you like, depending on how you will serve them – a fatter chunkier works just as well as longer thinner style. 


Repeat shaping the sausages with the remaining dough. You may get 12-15 sausages in the end, depending on the size.


Tearing off a small amount of parchment paper, put the strip of paper onto a bench top and place a sausage into the middle of the paper. Now wrap the paper over the sausage, so it becomes a firm package (it doesn’t need to be too tight). I like to twist the ends and then tuck the sides under neatly. It doesn’t matter how your wrap the sausage, as long as it is enclosed and is in the shape of the sausage you desire.


Put the wrapped sausages side by side into a steamer that has been placed over a pot of simmering water.  I use a large bamboo steamer that is fitted over a pot. The sausages can be packed in relatively tightly but try not to stack on top of each other, as you still want the steam to flow through easily, as this is what will cook your sausages. Placing the lid on top of the steamer, steam the sausages for 30-40 minutes.


Once the sausages are cooked, take off the heat and allow to cool slightly, as the parcels will be very hot if you unwrap them straight away. After unwrapping the sausages, allow them to rest for at least 20 minutes before serving. The longer you allow them to cool, the firmer their texture will become. And you may find they are even better the next day.


Before serving, sear the sausages in a small amount of oil on a high heat for a couple of minutes, turning often to prevent burning. This gives them a delicious BBQ sausage taste.


Serve with mashed potato and home made gravy or cut into large chunks and add to risotto, pasta, stews or salads. Or thread onto skewers with chunks of zucchini, capsicum, onion and grill on a BBQ.

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