Monday, March 16, 2009

Crispy Seitan with Spicy Dipping Sauce

Photo from

Sometimes you just need something battered and fried! This Crispy Seitan hits the spot with a light crust made from whole-grain organic cereal flakes. It's a surprising and delicious way to add whole grains to your diet (and possibly offset the twinge of guilt for eating fried food). I made these delectable crispy nuggets during the Life Chef "What's Cooking? Whole Grains for Heart Health" Class on February 14 at Sevananda Natural Foods Market.

When foods are fried at the proper temperature and for the shortest amount of time possible, they actually absorb less fat than you may think. So splurge with this tasty treat every now and then. It's fast and delicious and will be a winner with the entire family. Don't have seitan? Use extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 2" strips.

What is seitan? It's wheat gluten. It may sound kind of scary if you're new to meat-alternatives, but it's used a lot in making "faux meats" like vegan pepper "stake" and vegan "chick'n" patties. Seitan is very mild in taste and has a meaty texture, even more so than mushrooms. Learn more here.

Crispy Fried Seitan
8oz “chicken style” seitan, drained
2 cups organic multigrain cereal (crushed or run through a food processor)
1 teaspoon each (or to taste)
ground garlic powder
smoked paprika
ground black pepper
ground turmeric
ground cayenne pepper
ground cumin
ground coriander
vegetable oil for frying

Heat vegetable oil to 375 degrees in a fryer, pot or deep skillet.
Add spices and pulverized cereal crumbs into a plastic bag and shake to combine.
Place drained seitan into a bowl and sprinkle enough of the seasoned crumb mixture over the seitan pieces to coat thoroughly.
Fry seitan in the heated oil until crisp and golden brown.

Serve with this Dipping Sauce:

3 Tbsp ketsup
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp Sriracha (or other spicy sauce)
2 Tbsp honey

Curried Chick Peas with Kale

Nope, it's not deja vu, this recipe has indeed resurfaced! Each time I make it it's a little different. This time I omitted coconut milk altogether and added a prepared Indian simmer sauce, Calcutta Masala. Why? One, to cut some of the fat of the dish and two, to show the short cut, yet flavor enhancing method of making the dish by using the simmer sauce. Saves a few minutes when you've gotta get dinner on the table in a hurry.

This dish was recreated, on the fly, as part of the Life Chef "What's Cooking? Meal Planning" class I taught last Saturday at Sevananda Natural Foods Market. The first hour of the class highlighted time saving, money saving, calorie saving tips while keeping healthy and delicious foods on hand and realistically planned into your life. Hopefully you can catch the next one!

Curried Chick Peas with Kale
1 can chick peas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 inches of ginger, peeled and grated
1 large tomato, diced
2 cups kale, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon each (or to taste):cayenne, cumin, coriander, ginger, garlic, black pepper, smoked paprika, cinnamon, allspice
1 cup Calcutta Masala Sauce
1 cup water
1 lime, cut into wedges (for garnish)
1 bunch cilantro (for garnish)

In a large pot, heat 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onions and garlic until tender, about 3 minutes.

Add ginger and tomato and continue cooking until tomato breaks down, about 5 minutes.

Add chick peas and spices (cayenne through allspice), and stir rapidly to toast spices.

Add water and Masala sauce, cover the pot and simmer for at least 10 minutes to combine flavors.

To serve, garnish with lime wedges to be squeezed over each plate and fresh cilantro sprigs.