According to TikToker @futurelettuce, it only takes two ingredients to make chicken — vegan chicken, that is. In the video that has since gone viral since he posted it in February, @futurelettuce kneads then vigorously rinses dough under cold water, twisting it and knotting it over and over, before boiling it and frying it. What results (aside from confusion in the comments section) is a homemade version of the commercialized meat alternative known as seitan. It's essentially wheat gluten, and it has been a staple of Asian cuisine for centuries. Here is his video:
Experimenting with a range of techniques and ingredients, TikTokers have been sharing their own versions of this recipe to create their favorite dishes from buffalo wings to filet mignon. I knew I had to take to my own kitchen to figure out the best way to make this "chicken" taste as legit as it looks.
Though the seitan base of this recipe requires only flour and water, the preparation and cooking process isn't quite as simple. Achieving that perfect meat-like consistency takes a lot of calculated kneading and resting. The kneading warms and stretches the gluten strands, and the resting allows it to expand and relax. Once you wash the starch out of the flour, what's left behind is gluten with a protein content similar to chicken. Doing all the steps for the appropriate amount of time is essential if you want the texture of your seitan to be as close to meat as possible. Just trust the process, even when the dough starts looking like stringy oatmeal.
Keep in mind that seitan has practically no flavor compared to chicken, so a dash of salt and pepper won't be enough. Think of seitan as a sponge (just not texture-wise!). You might feel like you're being heavy-handed with the seasoning, but don't skimp on it, because otherwise it'll taste like plain tofu.
After a bit of trial and error (and a lot of flour and water), here's what I came up with for the most chicken-tasting version of this vegan recipe.
The flour to water ratio is 2:1, so you can easily scale this recipe depending on how much "chicken" you want to make.
- For the "chicken:"
6 cups all-purpose or bread flour
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 celery seed
4 cups (1 quart) vegetable stock
- For frying:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 cup all purpose or bread flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
- For assembly:
4 brioche buns
Coleslaw-style shredded cabbage
1 tablespoon sriracha
3 tablespoons vegenaise
- Combine water and flour and knead into a cohesive ball of dough.
- Let rest covered for one hour.
- Knead dough again, this time under water.
- Continue to rinse and knead until water runs clearish, but not clear.
- Incorporate seasoning mixture into dough. This recipe uses garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, thyme, celery seed, salt, and pepper, but you can use any combination of spices you want, such as Trader Joe's Vegan Chicken-less Seasoning Salt or KFC-style 11 herbs and spices.
- Let dough rest for two hours.
- Pull and knot dough to create meaty fibers. The more you stretch the dough, the more chicken-like the resulting texture will be.
- Form into patties, then boil submerged in a small, covered pot of vegetable stock for 30 minutes.
- Sprinkle on more spices, then coat in the almond milk and flour batter before dredging in dry flour.
- Fry until supercrispy and golden brown.
- Place on a brioche bun topped with lettuce and sriracha mayo.
- Main Dishes
- 4 vegan chicken breasts
- Prep Time
- 25 minutes
- Cook Time
- 45 minutes
- Total Time
- 1 hour, 9 minutes, 59 seconds