I’m not a vegetarian but I love mock duck.
Mock duck, also known as seitan, is a vegetarian product made from wheat gluten, meaning it’s not a good option for those with gluten sensitivities. I like mock duck’s chewy texture because resembles meat more so than other other meat-substitutes. Mock dock is often stationed in the refrigerated section of grocery stores and or sold by the can in Asian grocery stores. I remember enjoying my first tastes of mock duck in Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches at Jasmine Deli, a restaurant located along Eat Street in Minneapolis, MN. Three dollars never tasted so good.
This afternoon, I found mock duck in Sidney’s refrigerated case for about $3.69 per package. It’s cut into small pieces and ready to eat, but the package only contains a cup’s worth. Instead, I bought this bag of wheat gluten flour and decided to make my own. Although this bag cost a little over $7, it actually makes about three times more mock duck for the price of the packaged version, when compared ounce for ounce. If you have some extra time, it’s really easy to make at home. I mostly followed the package’s instructions and adjusted a few elements.
2 cups wheat gluten
2 cups boiling water
Garlic salt, about a teaspoon
A pinches of dried marjoram
A pinch of dried sage
9 cups of water
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
3 Tablespoons molasses (could also use honey)
A few thick slices of of fresh ginger, washed and skinned
To prepare the cooking liquid, bring 9 cups of water, soy sauce, molasses and ginger to a simmer.
In a large bowl, stir together the wheat gluten and boiling water. It’s texture will be damp and spongy. Set the mixture aside until it’s cool enough to handle.
Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes to further develop the chewy texture.
Divide the dough in smaller pieces, and cut into slices. Drop into the simmering liquid. Stir and simmer for an hour.
The mock duck will absorb the liquid’s flavor and become chewier. The slices of mock duck will greatly expand in size.
Remove the mock duck and drain in a strainer. Place a heavy object on top of the mock duck to remove extra liquid or wait until it cools and press it with your hands. Now it’s ready to use.
I sauteed the seitan until golden brown and added it to a crock pot along with an onion and two waxy potatoes sliced and sauteed until golden. Then, I topped it with a sliced zucchini, one shredded carrot, one bell pepper cut into rings, barbecue sauce and cooked it on high for several hours. If there’s too much liquid, let the pot cook uncovered until it condenses. This recipe for Barbecued Seitan and Layered Vegetables was adapted from the book Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson available from the Fargo Public Library system. The original recipe’s version of homemade barbecue sauce struck us as overly sweet so if you give it a try, substitute your favorite sauce instead.
You can also use the mock duck to replace the meat in stir-fries, salads, or sloppy joes. Extra mock duck can be frozen for later use.