Alive and chick’n
I know what you’re thinking. “This mope better not be one of those recipe cucks who spends 3000 words jizzing on about how much he loves poached artichokes and the three weeks he spent in the Canaries with his Hall Green 6 wife and the fantastic seafood restaurant they spent their evenings in while their children were being molested by poorly vetted crèche staff. The fuck is wrong with this kid? I really need to spend half an hour scrolling to get to the fricking recipe i.e., the only reason I clicked in the first place?”
Madam, this is a low-sodium page – please keep the salt to a minimum. That said, here’s the goddamn recipe, seen as it’s such a big “thing” for you. I get it – don’t for a minute think I don’t. Nonetheless, and hard though it may be for you to understand, many arrive here eager for an introduction and a little background on the “chickwheat thing”. Some, perhaps most, need a bit of foreplay before you stick it right in. One size it seems does not fit all.
Let’s begin by agreeing that since the dawn of time man has longed to tear apart baked wheat as if it were delightful shredded meat. The inception of chickwheat has made that glorious dream based reality. Could vital wheat gluten really produce succulent strands of protein that could convincingly be made into chicken-style tacos, curries, barbecues and salads? What kind of a super nature are we living in?
It’s a question that demands satisfaction. The Thomas Edison of chickwheat is Lacey Siomos from the vegan blog Avocados and Ales. Her post on 17 December 2017 had roughly the same effect on meat supremacy that Pearl Harbor had on the chances of Sulu from Star Trek winning Immigrant of the Year 1941. Lacey may have been a mother but her children were as nothing to the magnificent beast she birthed that cold Midwest winter morning. Its descendants would teem down the waterfall of time, multiplying as they went, spreading its doughy seed through the generations like Genghis Khan‘s Mongol horde.
No more would vegan Quorn fall apart in mild kormas like Naomi Osaka when presented with a post-match press conference. Never again would tasteless spongy tofu poison dinner tables like some mediaeval princess. Not even once would rubbery tempeh leave a taste like the Michelin Man had just bust a nut in your mouth. There was a new sheriff in town – a delicious, crunchy yet yielding sheriff who loved nothing more than diving into your sandwiches, pot roasts and pizzas and improving them like 1000 per cent.
The vision thing
As with all true visionary ideas it took a while to catch on. A trickle of citations for Lacey’s recipe in 2018-19 became a flood in 2020. The Seitan Appreciation Society Facebook group adopted it as its foundational document, its Rosetta Stone to decipher the great mysteries of vegan meat. Scores of variations on the theme poured forth in an explosion of creativity not seen since the Renaissance. According to Mary’s Test Kitchen incidentally, Michael Conroy got there first with the publication of his 2015 cuckbook Seitan and Beyond, making him the Warren De la Rue of chickwheat. There may never be a statue erected of Conroy but we are happy here to give him his props.
A certain ratio
Like all miracles, chickwheat doesn’t just come together at the flick of a whisk. Accommodations must be made, delicate balances struck, fine lines walked. If you’re after a chicken-like substance then you should take your cue from a chicken-like animal, specifically the chicken. A chicken breast comprises approximately 15% fat by weight and about 30% protein. Hit this ratio and you are well on your way to producing the kind of muscular faux meat that will have your cucknivore friends begging forgiveness from animal deities throughout history.
Don’t forget that it’s not just wheat gluten that contains protein. If your wet mix includes chickpeas, tofu, tahini or miso paste (as many recipes will) then factor that in when calculating your ratio. It’s a fine line between golden ratio and golden shower.
As for hydration, the recommended ratio between wet and dry ingredients is typically between 65-100%. If you want a soft juicy cut then look at between 90-100% hydration. On the other hand, if you’re looking for an extra firm slice then look at 50-60%. Firm but tender and you’re looking at 75%. And, just like the six months you spent pegging your borefriend, it’ll take a bit of experimentation to find the sweet spot.
Aquafaba – wha gwan?
Incredible though it may seem, there are some vogons who are unfamiliar with aquafaba. This miraculous plant-based binding agent that makes eggs as redundant as Fully Raw Kristina‘s opinion on literally anything is a game-changing weapon in the vegan arsenal. It is wondrous syrupy manna from the gods, has literally no drawbacks and is available from many good food stores. And yet if you purchase it from said food stores you are the most worthless cuck that ever lived.
Because to buy aquafaba from the shops when it is freely available in every tin of chickpeas piled waist high in your larder then you are on some wicked Tesco’s Very Lazy Garlic in White Wine Vinegar devil shit and should be summarily excommunicated from the fold. The Savage is far from a zero-waste zealot but if you lack the presence of mind to drain and hoard this precious juice then maybe this whole human thing is beyond you. There is of course the possibility that you aren’t down with chickpeas due to some allergy or legumephobia. But otherwise, make like The Savage and keep some ice cube trays of chickpea brine frozen for swift deployment.
Chickwheat shreds recipe
And so to the recipe. This is
a complete rip-off of heavily influenced by Lacey Siomos’s original recipe and Bit of the Good Stuff’s Easy Seitan ‘Chicken’. The Savage sees no reason to reinvent the wheel and his shit-tier culinary skills ensure that if he ever tried, his kitchen would wind up looking like the Overlook Hotel after Jack Torrance was through with it. Just let him do his thing, man.
5 tbsp nutritional yeast
2.5 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp zaatar (oregano will do)
1.25 tsp onion powder
1.25 tbsp tahini
1/3 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp cider wine vinegar (to neutralise the gluten taste)
170g vital wheat gluten
1. Stick everything apart from the wheat gluten in a food processor and blend that bitch until it’s smooth as Teddy Pendergrass after a week-long silent retreat.
2. Put the wheat gluten in a bowl and combine it with your wet mix.
3. This is where real G’s (gastros) leave the resulting dough to rest for 5 hours. This is to allow the moisture to absorb the vital wheat gluten and form the important fibrous structures.
4. Here you’ll want to get your dough and slam it into a stand mixer or food processor with a dough hook. The Savage finds that 7-8 minutes at medium speed is perfect to get the stretchy smooth gluten fibres that make the shreddable chickwheat you desire. Times may vary on your machine so experiment like Nikola Tesla during school holidays to find that perfect blend.
And once you’re done it should look a little something like this:
5. Now is the time to cut the dough into two portions. Once you’re done, flatten the first chunk of dough out then cut the dough into three strips. Braid the three strips, stretching them with each fold as you go.
Once it is fully braided, tie it into as many knots as possible – 3-4 seems to be my limit. This again will help mimic the stretchy muscley fibre of real chicken. Repeat for the second ball of dough.
6. Now to prepare for the cooking. It’s a good idea to wrap the knotted balls in baking parchment first as it will help prevent them expanding in the oven. Once that’s done, wrap them in foil and you’re ready to go.
7. As for cooking, I have found 1 hour 30 minutes at gas mark 5 to be about right though inevitably more experimentation will be needed for you.
8. Upon removing from the oven, leave to cool for 30 minutes before breaking out and tearing them apart like Saladin the Victorious tearing apart some straggler Crusaders gathered around a hog roast.
The resulting shreds are great in stews, stir-fries, casseroles and curries. A favourite of mine is to dip them in jerk seasoning and fry in coconut oil for a couple of minutes before serving with rice and Fork and Pixel’s apple and walnut chutney.
Be assured that once you are on the chickwheat bandwagon your life is changed utterly. It’s like the switch from black-and-white to Technicolor in The Wizard of Oz. Not even lying, mate.
Many thanks to the Seitan Appreciation Society Facebook group for the wealth of information there. 🙏