Stir-fried beef with broccoli is a comfort food of mine, and when you slice seitan in the way you would a slab of flank steak against the grain, this dish can look deceptively like it. You can stir in chili sauces all you want to make it spicy, or add other vegetables. I like include the stem of the broccoli along with the florets, cutting off their thick skins before slicing them into medallions.
- In a large bowl, mix the flour with 1 1/2 cups of the water and mix until the mixture comes together to form a ball. Let sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the water to absorb. Turn the ball onto a surface dusted with more whole wheat flour and knead for 8-10 minutes, until the mixture is smooth, flouring the surface as needed. Let the dough sit for 30 minutes to allow the gluten to develop.
- Place the dough in a large bowl and cover with water. Squeeze and rinse the dough under running water to remove the starches. Once the water runs clear and the dough no longer emits white starches when you squeeze it underwater (about 10 minutes), rinse thoroughly. This is now seitan.
- Press the seitan into a flattened rectangular shape, like a piece of flank or skirt steak. Pat with towels to remove any water. Slice into thin slivers.
- Cut the broccoli crown into evenly sized florets. If there is stem left, trim an inch or so off the base, then remove the thick skins, turning the stem a few times to cut it off all around. Slice the trimmed stem into discs about ¼” thick. Combine the black bean sauce, soy sauce, cornstarch, and 1 cup water in a bowl and stir well to combine.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large fry pan or wok over high heat. Once the oil is very hot (if a droplet of water sizzles when it hits it), add just enough seitan pieces so that they don’t overlap (you may need to work in batches). Season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Don’t stir for 30 seconds, then stir to release and flip the pieces over, being careful to separate any that are sticking together. Cook the seitan, stirring occasionally, until each side is lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
- In the same pan or wok, add the remaining tablespoon of oil and once hot, add the broccoli florets. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes, then stir the minced garlic (so as not to burn). Continue cooking for another minute or until the pieces are almost crisp-tender. Return the seitan to the pan and stir to combine. Make sure the heat is on high, and give the cornstarch mixture another stir before pouring it into the pan. Stir to combine, and continue stirring as the sauce bubbles and thickens. Taste for seasoning, adding soy sauce or salt and pepper as desired. You can also add a splash of water to thin out the sauce. Remove from heat and transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle with the sesame oil and top with the chopped scallions for garnish. Serve immediately, with steamed rice.
Cathy Erway is the author of the cookbook The Food of Taiwan and the memoir The Art of Eating In. She hosts the podcasts Self Evident, exploring Asian American stories, and Eat Your Words on Heritage Radio Network, and blogs at Not Eating Out in New York.