Hello! Prepare to have your mind blown. I apologize for my cockiness, but seriously... Fellow culinary adventurers - have you ever made something that is so very good that you actually holler out loud with every bite? Okay, okay, enough gloating. I'm just sayin' - this is one of those dishes. What's more is that it is easily one of the simplest dishes I have ever prepared.
First of all, for those that aren't hip to this devilish-sounding delight, allow me to introduce Seitan - my new favorite protein. I had tried store bought seitan a few times and thought that it was pretty good. Perhaps a little odd in texture, but very adaptable to different flavors and dishes. A week or two ago, I made my own for the first time. It was simple to make and ridiculously inexpensive for the amount that it yielded. 1 1/2 cups of vital wheat gluten, the principal ingredient, made 8 or 9 large cutlets of seitan, which can be easily frozen. And it blew away the store bought seitan. Check it out - seitan has the same protein content as a sirloin steak, but it has zero fat and no cholesterol! It is a great meat alternative for vegetarians and vegans that are sensitive to soy products or concerned about consuming to much processed faux-meat.
I found many varied methods of making seitan online and in cookbooks. Click here for a hilarious video of the recipe that I used loosely to make my first batch. I improvised on the spices a bit, and it came out fabulous.
I think the most amazing thing about seitan is its ability to soak up flavor from a very small amount of sauce or marinade. It is a bit spongy, and as a result, a little bit of flavor goes a long way. For this particular dish, I used a bit of BBQ sauce mixed with Sri-Racha and a spicy curry paste. The result was a meat-like substance far more tasty than any meat I've ever had. The sweetness of the BBQ sauce was offset by the heat of the Sri-Racha and curry paste perfectly. In combination with the freshess of the bell pepper and mushrooms I used, it was enough to make me wanna scream about it from rooftops.
I served the dish over a whole wheat couscous from Trader Joe's, which could not possibly be easier to prepare - boil water, take it off heat, add the couscous and let it do it's thing. Done in 5 minutes. The meal would also be perfect with brown rice, quinoa, etc.
Spicy BBQ Seitan
1 tbsp coking oil
1/4 large onion, diced
6 oz. Seitan, sliced into 1/8 in. strips
1 green bell pepper, diced
4-5 crimini mushrooms, diced
1/2 cup prepared whole wheat couscous
2 tbsp BBQ sauce
2 tsp Sri-Racha chili sauce
1 tsp Patak's hot curry paste
Start by heating some oil in a large pan or wok. When the oil begins to sizzle, add onions and cook over medium heat until translucent. Add seitan slices to the pan and brown on both sides. Mix together sauce ingredients and drizzle about one tablespoon of the sauce over the seitan and onions. Mix well and let it cook and brown a bit more. After a few minutes, add the bell pepper and mushrooms to the pan, cook for 2-3 minutes, then drizzle some more sauce over everything and mix well. Serve over lightly salted couscous and grind some fresh ground black pepper over the top.
I can't wait to make this for my carnivorous friends and watch them drool......