Vegetarian Ground Meat Crumbles
- Cooking and Prep: 1 h 15 m
- Serves: 8
Prepare the 'Ground Meat'
Combine vital wheat gluten with water, only enough to make a pliable dough. The dough that forms should immediately clump into a ball. Mix well. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Fill a medium saucepan most of the way up with water. Add oil and enough soy sauce to turn the liquid medium brown. Bring to a boil.
Break the gluten mass into golf ball-sized chunks and drop them one at a time into the boiling liquid. Keep at a rolling boil.
Cook the gluten balls until they have doubled or tripled in size and they are large, spongy masses. This may take up to 45 minutes; the larger the balls, the slower they cook.
Strain the gluten out of the liquid. Let cool. Squeeze the gluten balls to remove as much liquid as possible.
Place gluten balls in the blender until small chunks, the size of pebbles or smaller, form.
Vital wheat gluten is generally sold in specialty baking supply stores or in health food stores, and is also used as an addition to bread to make it more elastic.
This food is rich in protein, but is an incomplete protein, as it only contains a portion of the amino acids that a person needs. As part of a rounded diet containing animal products and/or beans, you don’t have to worry about the other amino acids; you’re sure to be getting enough as it is.
Use these chunks in dishes such as stuffed peppers, sloppy Joes, or anything that requires ground meat crumbles. They can also be mixed 50/50 with ground meat or poultry to stretch the meat further without sacrificing taste or texture.
These can easily be made in a pressure cooker; doing so makes the process a lot quicker, taking only 15 minutes.
By cooking the gluten at a very low temperature (not a rolling boil) for a long time, until it has all turned solid, you can achieve a more solid chunk of seitan that can be diced and added in place of tofu or chicken in recipes.