This savory seitan incorporates the unique flavours of Chinese Five Spice, a blend of cinnamon (cassia), cloves, star anise, ginger, and fennel. The loaf is steamed to keep it moist, then glazed, baked and broiled to form a delectable crust. Serve it as a lovely dinner feature, serve on rice, or add it to sandwiches and wraps.

Seitan refers not to the lord of darkness, but a source of protein made from wheat gluten (ie. not for those with gluten allergies). It has been made by Buddist Monks as a meat alternative since the 7th century by rinsing wheat dough with water. Now, we can get the gluten without rinsing anything! Just buy Vital Wheat Gluten in the baking section of any major grocery store.

Chinese Five Spice powder can usually be found in the ethnic aisles of major grocery chains and at Asian markets. The main ingredients are usually cinnamon, cloves, anise, Sichuan pepper and fennel although they can vary.


Printable recipe and full story here:


For Seitan:
1 cup hot water
1 cube vegan “beef” bouillon or 1 teaspoon bouillon powder ( I used McCormick’s All Vegetable Beef Style ) [5cc]
1/4 cup vegetable oil ( I have used canola and olive oil) [60ml]
2 teaspoons Five Spice Powder [10cc]
1 tablespoon brown sugar [15cc]
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon white vinegar [15cc]
1/2 teaspoon salt [2.5cc]
1/4 cup soy flour [30g]** See notes at bottom for alternatives**
1 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten [175g]

For Glaze:
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar [15cc]
2 tablespoons oil or melted vegan butter [30ml]
1 tablespoon lemon juice [15ml]
1 teaspoon Five Spice Powder [5cc]
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste) [2.5cc]
1/2 teaspoon white pepper (or to taste) [2.5c]


Make the seitan dough:
In a large bowl, whisk together all the seitan ingredients except for the vital wheat gluten and soy flour.

Stir in the soy flour until completely incorporated.

Add the vital wheat gluten and stir until a dough is formed.

Knead the dough for a couple minutes and form into a log shape.

Steam the seitan dough:
Prepare a sheet of aluminum foil large enough to wrap up the seitan. Lightly oil the center.

Place the dough in the middle of the sheet, roll it up into a log form and tuck the ends of the foil under.

Use the point of a knife to some vents into the roll. This will allow some steam to escape during cooking and reduce the chance of bursting.

Steam at high heat for 40 minutes. If using a steaming basket, make sure there is enough water to last for the whole cooking time or add water periodically. If you add water during the steaming process, you’ll want to add a few minutes to your cooking time for each time you add water.

Carefully remove the seitan roll from the steamer. It will be very hot. Set it aside to cool.

Prepare a baking pan with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 350 F (175 C).

Make the glaze:
Whisk together all the glaze ingredients: garlic, lemon juice, brown sugar, oil or melted vegan butter, and Five Spice Powder. Add the salt and pepper to taste.

Finish the seitan:
Carefully remove the seitan from the foil and place on your prepared baking pan.

Brush all sides of the seitan with the glaze, reserving the remaining glaze.

Bake for 15 minutes at 350 F (175 C).

Switch on the broiler, remove the seitan and brush with more glaze.

Return the seitan to the oven and bake under the broiler for 3-5 minutes or until the top is browned.

Remove the seitan, turn it over, and brush on the remaining glaze.

Place the seitan back until the broiler for another 3-5 minutes or until the top is browned.

Remove from the oven and let the seitan cool a few minutes before slicing.


This seitan recipe makes a tender loaf with a very flavourful crust. Before I serve it, I usually slice it and fry the slices in a non-stick pan (no oil) so they have more crispiness and caramelization.

The soy flour in the recipe helps the texture. If you don’t have soy flour, use chickpea or any other bean flour. Alternatively, you can just leave it out but the texture will be a bit more chewy.

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