If there is one ingredient that can be named 100% anti gluten-free then it’s definitely gluten! Pretty straightforward, huh? But this isn’t some kind of a joke or play on words. The thing is that people actually eat gluten a lot and not as a part of daily bread and pasta, as one might imply, but as separate stuff. Which is called seitan (or milgogi in Korean, if you will). Seitan is pure gluten made by washing the dough with water until all starch granules are gone. The sticky substance you are left with is insoluble gluten that can be further prepared and eaten. And many people in Asia would do so. At first, seitan was popular only for religious and vegetarian communities and cuisines of China and Japan, but it has started to gain more and more traction since the mid-20th century. It was first adopted by western vegetarians as a delicious and inexpensive source of protein and meat substitute.
But what’s really great about seitan is its ability to absorb flavours. It’s like a blank canvas that you can paint on, a palette with an endless array of recipes. Go ahead and create an even better artistry metaphor, because cooking with seitan really unlocks one’s potential. It can be paired with vegetables, roasted and fresh, with sauces and dips, it can be baked, stir-fried and stewed, it can be a great substitute for duck, chicken, beef but actually it’s just plain great, that’s why we’re going to use it.
And one of the best recipes is surely seitan ‘hot wings’ style. First, chop or tear 500 g / 1 lb of seitan into bite-sized chunks and put them into a preheated pan with a layer of olive or other vegetable oil. Saute the seitan from all sides till it’s well browned. Stir frequently for 8 minutes, then add 50 g / ¼ cup of barbeque sauce of your choice, 3 Tbsp of maple syrup or honey, 2 Tbsp of lemon juice, 1 Tbsp of hot sauce, and salt to taste. Reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer for 5-6 minutes until the seitan is well soaked with the sauce. Remove from the heat and serve with some mayo-based or blue cheese dressing, celery and carrot sticks and some soda. You know the drill!