Along with tofu and soya chunks, one of my favourite vegan sources of protein is seitan. Made from white beans, tofu and vital wheat gluten, my recipe transforms a handful of simple ingredients into the most delicious vegan “chicken”. It has the perfect “shredded chicken” texture and it can be used to make all kinds of vegan dishes from curries and stews, to salads and tandoori-style dishes. I’ve used it to make Vegan Seitan Butter Chicken, Biryani and now these Hariyali “Chicken” Drumsticks.
“Hariyali” refers to the beautiful shamrock green colour of the marinade. My recipe puts a glut of coriander and mint to good use and the tandoori-style drumsticks pair perfectly with salad and freshly-made Indian flatbreads like naan, paratha and chapattis.
Even though the marinade is packed full of big, punchy flavours, the spicing is simple using lots of ginger, chillies and garlic. Cashews and coconut yoghurt give the super green marinade body so that it clings on the the “chicken” drumsticks with ease. Both vegetarians and meat eaters will be able to dig in to these party-ready vegan drumsticks so they’re a great option for big gatherings.
I like to keep batches of vegan seitan chicken in the freezer. I make shreds, pieces, loaves and drumsticks so I can quickly whip some out and marinate them or pop them straight into curries, stir fries and noodles.
Traditionally, Hariyali Chicken is a mouth-watering appetiser which is popular in Northern India and is best enjoyed with red onions or kachumber (a mix of red onions and tomatoes) and chutneys. I like to top them with a handful of juicy pomegranate seeds for a burst of freshness.
For the vegan “chicken drumsticks”:
- 300 g extra-firm tofu drained
- 1 400 g tin haricot beans inc. the liquid from the tin (you can also use any other white beans, such as cannellini beans or butter beans)
- 150 g vital wheat gluten I buy mine on Amazon
- 150 ml cold water
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tsp white miso paste
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp fine salt
- 3 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
You will also need:
- 10 flat wooden lollipop sticks
- Kitchen foil
For the hariyali paste:
- 120 g fresh coriander
- 50 g fresh mint
- 2 thin green chillies
- 3 tbsp coconut yoghurt
- 8-10 cashews
- 1- inch piece ginger
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp agave nectar
- In a blender, combine the tofu, haricot beans in their liquid, miso paste, soy sauce, salt, nutritional yeast, oil and water until you have a smooth paste.
- Add the vital wheat gluten to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the tofu mixture and mix on a low speed until the two come together in the form of a dough.
- Switch the paddle attachment to a dough hook and mix on a medium/high speed for 10-12 minutes. Stay close by as the mixer may shuffle across the counter top as the dough is tough to work. You’ll also need to be very careful your mixer’s motor doesn’t burn out. This kneading of the dough is crucial in developing the gluten and proteins in the seitan and shouldn’t be skipped. The longer and harder you work it, the more fibrous and chicken-like the final product will be. I wouldn’t recommend doing it by hand as your arms might threaten to fall off. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger would struggle, seriously. Having said this, you can create seitan kneading by hand - it will not however, have a shreddable, “pulled” quality and you’ll finish up with a spongy end product instead. It’ll still taste good but probably won’t fool your meat-eating friends.
- Once your seitan has been kneaded long and hard, remove it from the mixer and divide it into 10 equal pieces. Wrap each piece around a wooden lollipop stick into a drumstick-like shape. Next, wrap each “drumstick” very tightly in 2-3 layers of heavy-duty foil, trying to maintain the shape as well as possible. You want it to be nice and compact inside to stop it expanding inside as this will promote sponginess rather than the shreddable texture we’re after. The multiple layers of foil will also stop water getting inside.
- Next, fill a pressure cooker with plenty of water (about 3/4 of the way fuland bring to a boil. Carefully drop your drumsticks into the cooker and put the lid on. Cook on a medium/high heat for 45 minutes. Once the time is up, switch off the heat and leave it to cool completely. If your pressure cooker is too small to hold all 10 drumsticks, you'll need to cook them in two batches. In any case, keep the cooking time the same.
- Once cool, remove the seitan drumsticks from the cooker and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 48 hours.
- Unwrap and check out that amazing texture when you pull it apart. Your seitan is now ready to marinate.
- To make the marinade, combine all the ingredients except the coconut yoghurt in a blender and blend until completely smooth.
- Transfer to a large bowl and stir the coconut yoghurt in. This will ensure the marinade doesn’t become too runny.
- Add the cold vegan chicken drumsticks and carefully coat each one in the marinade.
- Cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. You can also prepare this 24 hours in advance.
- Heat a griddle pan until smoking hot. Place the vegan chicken drumsticks on the griddle pan and cook each side until you have charred grill marks all over. Serve with red onion rings and scatter with pomegranate seeds and more coriander.
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