This is a revisited version of 'Oncle Hu’s ntw method' and pastrami recipe originally posted in The Seitan Appreciation Society's facebook group.
Mix the flour with the food color powder (if used)
Add most of the water, mix and knead.
If you own a food processor, use the dough hook and knead for 15-20 minutes.
If you don't: have a nice workout.
Add more water, if needed;
add more flour, if the dough gets too wet.
You should end with a firm dough that bounces back when poked.
Place the ball of dough in a bowl and cover it with cool water for 1 hour as shown in the “Wash the Flour” guide.
Wash the dough as usual, but not until the ‘cloudy water stage’. Wash only until the washing water is something between pretty milky and buttermilky. Thus leaving notable amounts of starch in the final seitan.
This is called the ntw method and makes all the difference.
Indicators for ntw:
– washing water is milky∼buttermilky (depending on how often you change the water, of course)
– you still notice starchy blobs (those are more opaque and weaker, than the sheer gluten strands; if you used food color in the initial dough, the starch will have a lighter tone than the gluten)
– when you feel the dough tightening, becoming rubbery, you may want to stop the washing (this is an eyeball thing, of course)
– (important!) this method calls for thorough washing/mangling, nonetheless; starches from every part of the dough must be washed out – just not that much;
Big lumps of starch are not what you want; small pockets or ‘blobs’ of starch are what we like to have here.
You should end up with more gluten than starch. The starches building small pockets within a mainly glutenish body.
The ‘starchy blobs’ will make kind of ‘fatty bits’ in the final result and also contribute to a nice crust.
Optional: At this point you may take the dough out of the water, but keep mangling it, thus distributing the starchy blobs into a finer grain, if desired.
Give the seitan a few minutes to rest in a colander and lose some excess water.
Put seitan in a bowl and add the dry seasoning.
Use your fingers to massage the spices in rather than a food processor.
By swirling the seitan always in the same direction long strands of seitan will form with the spices distributing evenly.
At this stage the seitan may seem very soft; this is okay, though.
Cover the bowl with a towel or with cling film.
Rest on the counter for at least one hour to settle and have the gluten rearranged.
Cut the seitan into two even pieces (I recommend using scissors).
Each piece will make two servings of pastrami (or one big steak, if you want). Two pieces are easier to handle than one big piece.
There will also be more surface – thus more crust.
Use a frying pan with a lid.
Mine has 24 cm of diameter, which fits perfectly with the amount of seitan plus the simmering liquid.
Heat the fat (medium heat).
Add the seitan.
Make sure the two pieces don't stick together.
Gently move and push the 'steaks' using a spatula to keep them in shape.
When you feel the steaks being firm enough, flip them over.
Flip every now and then to control the grade of brownness you desire. Don't burn.
Once the desired brownness is attained, remove the pan from heat.
When the fat isn't that sizzling hot any more, mix the wine and tamari and add.
Close the lid and bring to a simmer.
The amount of wine/tamari mixture should fairly half-dunk the steaks; this should be ± the quantity that will be fully absorbed in the end.
Simmer with the lid closed, allowing the liquid to be absorbed.
This should take at least 30~35 minutes; may even take up to one hour, depending on the amount of liquid used.
The steaks will increase size during this, but will contract gradually once cooled down in the end.
When nearly all of the liquid is absorbed, the wine will begin to caramelize.
Carefully control that it doesn't burn!
Remove from heat, let cool down and refrigerate over night.
Refrigerating is very important here and will improve the texture.
Slice the seitan as thin as possible or as desired.
Use your favourite pastrami sandwich sauce/ cheeze/ bread...
I like to mix cream cheese with hot mustard and honey (maple syrup) for a sauce and pile the pastrami slices adding pickled cucumber and fried onions on french baguette.