Recently, we set our sights on recreating my favorite appetizer: Seitan Tod from Thai Cuisine in Ithaca, NY. Our budget doesn't often allow us to dine out. That's entirely fine with us. Finding ways to eat well at home has been key to staying sane despite our new constraints.
Anyway, Seitan Tod is "batter-fried seitan marinated in spices and served with Thai sweet and sour chili-garlic sauce with ground peanuts and fresh coriander."
To make the seitan, mix together 1 cup wheat gluten with 1 cup vegetable broth in a medium bowl. The wheat gluten will only soak in as much moisture as it can -- but the rest is left as a marinade. Let sit for a couple hours. Then divide into 8 to 10 pieces.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Roll out these pieces into tiny hotdog shapes (it's the only way I could think to describe it!). Then place each on a skewer. Bake for 30 minutes to an hour -- if they start to burn at all, cover with another piece of aluminum foil (lightly oiled). That's pretty vague, but you can choose the firmness of your own personal seitan that way. When they're done baking, let them cool for around 15 minutes.
Then you'll need to whisk together the following ingredients in a medium bowl.
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
***Set aside 1/4 to 1/3 cup of this dry mixture in a shallow dish for rolling. You'll see why below.
Then add these . . .
1/3 cup cold water
1/3 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon flax meal plus 3 tablespoons warm water
And here's how you fry it up:
Pour a generous amount of vegetable oil into a large frying pan. Heat until hot -- a pinch of flour should sizzle and not burn. If you see smoke, lower the heat. Coat each baked seitan with the batter from above. Then roll very quickly in the dry mixture. Doing so will keep the batter from getting soggy in the oil. Then fry on all sides until golden brown.
After you've done one, you can probably manage two at a time. Three gets tricky. But repeat this process until you're done. Then serve with some sweet red chili sauce and chopped peanuts.
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