Test Kitchen – Vegan Fried Chicken

| 07/07/2014 | Reply

FriedChickenDayDid you know that Sunday, July 6, 2014 was National Fried Chicken Day?  Yup. All over the web and in news media National Fried Chicken Day was celebrated with greasy chins and lots of napkins. There is even a Facebook page for National Fried Chicken Day!

So, to honor the occasion I decided to try a new vegan fried chick’n recipe that I’d heard about from several different people from the very popular site Hell Yeah It’s Vegan. Find the original recipe here.

The recipe begins with making and boiling the seitan or wheat meat as it is sometimes called. Since I’d recently received a 5 lb bag of the stuff from an internet order, I was only too happy to bust that puppy open and create something. Anything.  I was just itching to make seitan something!

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My 5 lb bag of vital wheat gluten and the boiled seitan, ready for dredging and frying

The first thing I noticed is that the spice selection is a bit different than I’m used to for fried chicken. She used quite a bit of cumin – in both the seitan mix and the flour dredge. I was curious how that was going to taste because cumin to me is a Middle Eastern or South American dish spice, not a soul food fried chicken spice. In my entire life I’ve never eaten fried chicken with cumin in it.

And I was glad, because cumin and fried chicken are a no no. That stuff was…. how do you say it Ebonically… NAST TAY.

But here is what the preparation looked like:

Vegan fried chicken - celebrating national fried chicken day

First, you dip the seitan pieces into a mixture of spicy brown mustard, water and flour.

vegan fried chicken 8

Then you dredge the dipped seitan in a mixture of flour, nutritional yeast, cornmeal, baking powder, and spices.

Vegan Fried Chicken3

Drop the dredged seitan (which looks shockingly like chicken breast halves) into the hot oil. I fry with peanut oil so that’s what you see above.

vegan fried chicken1

Cook for about 3-4 minutes until brown, then turn over to brown the other side.  Drain on rack then serve hot.

Test Kitchen Recipe Ranking

this recipe is ranked 5 forks out of ten

Now the things I liked about this recipe: the texture of the seitan. It was very juicy, firm, and would go really well with some mashed potatoes and gravy and collard greens.  Yup, that part was on hit!

What I didn’t like was the taste. I don’t like my fried chick’n to taste like a taco. I ate a piece two hours ago for lunch and I can still taste the cumin on my tongue. Yuck. Since I live in a house with meat eaters, the future of the rest of my batch of seitan from yesterday is a question. I may put it in the freezer and break it out for use in tacos or burritos in the future, or maybe take it to my cousins house… her 24 year old son will make it disappear within a couple of days I’m sure.

My suggestions if you decide to try this recipe yourself:

  1. Season the seitan dough as you would the fried chicken you used to make – garlic salt or powder, onion salt or powder, your favorite seasoned salt, etc. Just go light because you want the seitan to have some flavor, but you need the dough to bind together. So be mindful of that fact and don’t overdo the seasonings here – you’ll add more seasoning to it in your flour dredge.
  2. Eliminate the cumin altogether, or at least reduce the amount by half.
  3. Use low sodium soy sauce to avoid making your seitan overly salty.
  4. Instead of water in your cooking base, use vegetable broth or vegetarian chicken style broth.
  5. If you liked your fried chicken with a bit of kick, be sure to up the amount of black pepper and throw in some cayenne for good measure.


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Category: Entrees, The Test Kitchen

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