Although it is made from wheat, Seitan has very little in common with flour or bread. It is also known as “wheat meat”, “wheat protein” or “wheat gluten”. When cooked, Seitan becomes quite similar to the look and texture of meat making it a popular and cruelty free substitute.
It is documented that people have been eating seitan (albeit by other names) in China, Japan, Vietnam and other East and Southeast Asian Countries since the 6th century. It is very popular with Buddhists who are, in the main, vegan or vegetarian.
The term seitan is thought to have come from the combination of several words: sei, meaning “made of” or “proper/correct” and tan, the first character in the Japanese word tanpaku, which means “protein.” It was coined in the early 1960s by the Japanese philosopher and founder of the macrobiotic diet George Ohsawa (1893 – 1966) who brought seitan to the West in the early 1960s.
Seitan is popular with vegans and vegetarians looking for a high protein, low fat product. It is much closer in texture to meat than other substitutes such as Tofu & Tempeh.