VEW Recipe Index

Five Spice Seitan

Makes 4 portions of seitan, enough to serve 4-6 in recipes

I love steamed seitan; it’s fast, easy, relatively mess-free and won’t take over your kitchen in the preparing of. There will be a collection of international seitans that can be worked into many of the recipes of this book; this Five Spice Seitan is my favorite all purpose Asian seitan that’s great in Chinese, Korean and South East Asian cuisine. It’s very firm and chewy and works best when thinly sliced, marinated and then pan sauteed or grilled.

1 1/2 cups cold vegetable broth

2 cloves garlic, peeled, pressed or grated with a microplane grater

4 Tablespoons mild soy sauce

2 Tablespoons peanut or grapeseed oil

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1 3/4 cups vital wheat gluten flour (one 10 ounce package)

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1/4 cup garbanzo (chickpea) flour

2 teaspoons Chinese five spice powder

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1. In a one quart measuring cup or bowl whisk together vegetable broth, grated garlic, soy sauce, peanut oil, and grated ginger. In a separate bowl stir together vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, garbanzo flour, and five spice powder. Form a well in the center and pour in the broth mixture.

2. Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to stir the ingredients together; a moist dough will form rapidly as the flour absorbs the broth. When all of the broth as been absorbed use both hand to fold the dough in a kneading motion for 5 minutes. For best texture results try to knead the dough in one direction, using a folding and pressing motion with your palms pushing the dough in the same direction the entire time. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes, then divide into four equal pieces.

3. Set up your steamer and tear off four pieces of foil about 12 inches wide. Shape a piece of dough into an oval shape on the foil and bring two edges together and fold over the top by 1/2 inch to form a small tent over the dough. Fold the remaining opposite sides down flat to seal the package. Place in the steamer and steam for 30 minutes over medium-high heat, checking occasionally to make sure the water doesn’t completely evaporate.

4. Remove seitan and let cool on the kitchen counter for 30 minutes before using, or store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to a week.


For Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, reduce 5 spice powder to 1/2 teaspoon. Add 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper.