Jerk-Spiced Seitan

I’ve always wanted a luscious, reliable (and of course, easy) jerk seitan recipe, like the one served by my family’s favorite Hudson Valley restaurant, Luna 61 in Tivoli, New York. But all the recipes I’ve found rely on lengthy lists of spices, Scotch Bonnet peppers, and substantial time for marinating the seitan. After a couple of attempts to follow authentic-style recipes, with so-so results, I decided to throw authenticity to the wind, and go for the flavors that I craved. This recipe may not be the genuine article, but its bold flavors never disappoint.

Serves: 4

Jerk sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup tropical fruit juice (mango, papaya, or pineapple)
  • 2 tablespoons molasses or maple syrup (see Note)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce, to taste
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons lime juice, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Jamaican jerk seasoning mix, or more, to taste
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  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red or yellow onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into long, narrow strips
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, cut into long narrow strips
  • 1 pound seitan, cut into bite-sized strips

Dissolve the cornstarch in 2 tablespoons or so of water. Whisk to combine in a small bowl with the remaining sauce ingredients.

Heat the oil in a wide skillet or stir-fry pan. Add half of the oil and add the onion. Sauté over medium-low heat until translucent. Add the peppers and continue to cook until the onions and peppers are lightly browned. Transfer to a dish.

Heat the remaining oil in the skillet. Add the seitan and sauté over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until golden brown on most sides.

Pour in the sauce, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for a minute or so longer, until the sauce has thickened and the seitan is nicely glazed.

Stir in the onions and peppers and serve at once.

Note: Molasses adds a more assertive flavor to the sauce. I prefer molasses to maple syrup here, but it definitely makes a statement.

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