Easy to make, low cost and versatile, and you can do it at home! The basic ingredient is gluten flour, and with a 500g pack (about $7) you can eat for days and days. I like to make 'fillets' and strips, suitable for different uses. Put the gluten flour in a bowl and add seasoning (a little salt, or herbs, or what you like, even a little olive oil if you like it 'fatter'. Then add the same amount of water and mix with your hand until you get an elastic dough. Squeeze out any excess water (usually just a little if none) and set aside for 10 minutes. Cut into very thin slices with a serrated knife.
Or use scissor for thinner strips.
Place one slice at the time in a large pot of simmering vegetable broth (use plenty of broth for 500g of gluten flour, as it makes many slices and they will grow while simmering). Cook for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time.
When the 'meat' is ready pick up piece by piece and place on a couple of clean cotton tea towels to dry for 10-20 minutes. Now it is ready to use for you favourite recipes (use the remaining stock to make soup). If you are not using it straight away place in a sealed glass or plastic container and store in the fridge for up to two weeks (or freeze for longer periods).
When you need a few slices just take out and sauté with a little oil in a skillet. One of my favourite uses is to brown the slices on both sides and then add some lemon juice and soy sauce and put them in a sandwich, or on top of rice or ramen noodles. More recipes will follow when I get time to photograph and post more :-)
Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©