This recipe is something I have been missing ever since I stopped eating meat. In fact, I may even call it one of my favorite meals…top 5, at least.
I am very much into Thai food. When Houston and I were visiting Portland, OR, last February, we found this hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant called Cha’ba Thai in Alberta Arts. It was some of the best Thai food I’ve ever had – and I’ve eaten a lot of it. My favorite part of that meal, believe it or not, was the appetizer – chicken satay.
Now that I no longer eat my chicken friends, I had to make a way to have this food without the meat. I didn’t think tofu was going to cut it, so I tested a seitan version, and it worked wonderfully. It’s a bit of a process, but it’s worth it to get the whole chicken satay experience without the chicken.
To make this recipe, you will first need to make some seitan, which I know sounds intimidating to many, especially new vegans, but it’s actually quite simple. This seitan only has 5 dry ingredients and 2 wet, and the process is pretty straightforward, it’s just a little lengthy. Worth it.
For the seitan, all you’ll need is vital wheat gluten, some seasonings, soy sauce, cold water, and chicken-flavored vegan broth (or vegetable broth if you can’t find vegan chicken flavored broth). You’ll mix together your dry ingredients first, then add in your wet ingredients, and knead the raw seitan to form the gluten structures. Let it sit for 8-10 minutes, then form into chicken “nugget” shapes, and toss into your not-chicken broth to let simmer for 40 minutes. Once they’re done simmering, you’ll drain the broth and pan fry the seitan pieces in soy sauce and sesame oil until browned and crispy. Voila! Like I said, simple but lengthy. Overall, this process will take around an hour, but you can prepare the other parts of the dish while the seitan is simmering. Multitasking!
Okay, I’ve rambled enough. Onward.
For the seitan
- 1 cup vital wheat gluten
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 tsp poultry seasnoning (it’s usually vegan, but check your ingredients)
- 1/2 tsp dried ginger powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2/3 cup cold water
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 4 cups not-chicken broth (sub 2 cups water + 2 cups vegetable broth)
For the peanut dipping sauce
- 1/2 cup peanut butter (unsalted, unsweetened)
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp minced ginger
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1 tbsp date sugar (sub brown sugar)
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 1 tsp chili garlic paste
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 2-3 tbsp water to thin
- optional: red chili flakes to taste
For the cucumber salad
- 1 whole cucumber
- 1 tsp mirin or rice vinegar
- 1 tsp date sugar (sub brown sugar)
- optional: fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Additional: short grain white rice + water to boil
- In a mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients for the seitan and whisk together. Then, add in the water & soy sauce and mix together until well combined. Knead the raw seitan dough together to form the gluten (should only take 2-3 minutes). Let sit for 8-10 minutes.
- While the seitan is sitting, prepare the cucumber salad. Thinly slice the cucumber and add to a mixing bowl. Pro tip: I used a vegetable peeler to slice my cucumber for extra thin slices. It helps to marinade the cucumber more quickly. Next, mix in the mirin (or rice vinegar) and sugar, and stir to evenly coat the cucumber. Transfer the bowl to the refrigerator until the meal is ready to serve.
- Break up the seitan dough into smaller pieces that resemble a chicken stir fry or chicken nuggets.
- In a large pot, bring not-chicken broth (or vegetable broth substitute) to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to a very low simmer. Add in the seitan chicken pieces and let simmer, covered, for 40 minutes.
- While the seitan is simmering, prepare the peanut sauce by adding all of the ingredients, except for the water, to a mixing bowl and combining. Add in the water 1 tbsp at a time, adding only what’s necessary to get your desired sauce thickness. I used 3 tbsp of water. This is also the time to start cooking your rice if you are serving this dish with rice.
- After 4 minutes, drain the broth (or store for future use) and transfer the seitan to a skillet with 2-3 tbsp of soy sauce and toasted sesame oil. Pan fry the seitan on medium-high heat until browned and crispy on the outside, breaking any bigger pieces into smaller pieces as necessary.
- Serve immediately with white rice, peanut dipping sauce (or drizzle it on top like me), and chilled cucumber salad, or store up to 5 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.