Seitan could be described as tofu’s younger brother. In line with the trend towards a plant-based diet, seitan is appearing more frequently on Swiss plates.
Seitan originates from Japan where there are many different variations. It is always made in the same way – the cereal flour is washed until mostly gluten remains. This is then kneaded to form a compact mass. Seitan is steamed and then either marinated or flavoured. It can then be cooked and fried like tofu.
In Switzerland, you can now also find seitan made from ancient spelt. This is produced by Hisig in Einsiedeln. The brains behind this small company is Pierre Abrahams, a chef who runs the restaurant Tulipan in Einsiedeln. “I’ve always been interested in seitan. As it’s not very well known, I decided to make it myself”, he says. It’s important to him to use only local raw materials. What’s more, he didn’t want to produce wheat seitan “because many people are intolerant to gluten”. Ancient spelt gluten is easier to digest.
From a culinary perspective, Abrahams appreciates seitan because it has more bite than tofu. “I like its firm texture – tofu tends to be too soft for my liking”, he says. At his restaurant in Einsiedeln, he serves various dishes made with seitan and there’s always a seitan burger on the menu. Hisig seitan is now available to buy in Einsiedeln and the surrounding area. It can be purchased unpackaged at Walhalla butchers and the store na-le. The goal is for it to be made available throughout Switzerland.