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This crab-style seitan made with vital wheat gluten and tofu is not only super-shreddy, it's juicy, tender, and meaty all at the same time. It gets its flavor of the sea from a broth made with dried Kombu sheets and Wakame flakes.
In a small pot, soak the Kombu sheets (breaking into smaller pieces if necessary) in the 2 cups of water for a minimum of 30 minutes. A few hours (or even more if you can spare the time) is recommended to release the most flavor. You can even cover and soak them overnight in the fridge.
After the Kombu has soaked, add the Wakame flakes and salt and bring the water up to a boil. Normally you wouldn't want to boil Kombu because it gets a little leathery and can also make the broth a little slimy, but since we are not going to be reusing the Kombu or consuming the broth directly it's ok to leave it in if you choose—especially if you haven't had a lot of time to soak. Otherwise remove the pieces before boiling.
Reduce to a low simmer and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the broth has been reduced by about 1/3. Then remove from the heat and allow it to cool.
If you haven't already, remove the Kombu pieces and you should be left with about 1 1/4 cups of broth and the Wakame flakes should have settled to the bottom. Measure out 1 cup by pouring the broth off the top. It's ok to let some of the flakes get into your measuring cup (I made sure to include about 1 tsp) because they will add flavor to your seitan, but leaving too much may affect the color of your "crab" if that's a concern.
Reserve the remaining flakes for adding flavor to any crab-style dish, like crab dip or salad - or these Vegan Seitan Crabby Patties!
Whisk together the vital wheat gluten and flour in a bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine the tofu, one cup of measured broth, salt, sugar, oil, miso paste, vinegar and Methylcellulose (if using) and blitz until you have a creamy consistency.
Add the dry mix into the wet and process, in batches if necessary, until the dough has come together. The mixture should feel a bit wet, but not too sticky. Knead it with your hands until gluten strings begin to develop. It should be soft and relatively easy to knead. Let it rest on the counter like this for about an hour, or until the dough is able to be stretched and twisted.
If using a steamer basket, start getting your water heated up. You can instead use the Instant Pot on the manual function with a trivet inserted and water filled to just below it.
Stretch the dough into a long rope and twist it as tightly as possible. Tie it in knots and wrap it tightly with aluminum foil, making sure the ends are secure. Use parchment paper between your seitan and the foil if you don't like foil to touch your food. You can also use parchment paper and muslin/cheesecloth instead for foil, just make sure it's tied tight.
Steam in either your steamer basket or Instant Pot on the manual setting for 1 1/2 hours. Once cooled enough to handle but still warm, pull it apart into shreds it and store it in the fridge overnight. Use and enjoy it as you would any crab meat, like these Vegan Seitan Crabby Patties!