janet @ the taste space

Iraqi-Inspired Eggplant and Seitan Stew

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) on October 26, 2011 at 5:56 AM

Returning from vacation the day before you return to work is not a good idea. Jet-lag was one reason it took me so long to get back into the groove after returning from Iceland.

Thankfully, I was forward-thinking and froze a bunch of meals before we left. I had dal bhat waiting for me upon my return as well as this delicious Iraqi-Inspired Eggplant and Seitan Stew from Susan at Fat Free Vegan.

Just like dal bhat, this was a savoury, comforting stew. Filled with warming spices like nutmeg, smoked paprika, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin and cardamom, you have a winning combination with silky yellow split peas and chunks of seitan in a pomegranate-infused sauce. I modified it only slightly by using liquid smoke and substituting Aleppo chili flakes for the larger chilies.

I have made seitan, or wheat meat, once before as chorizo sausages. This recipe is neat because you make a batch of seitan specifically for this recipe. The results are chewy nuggets admixed within the cooked eggplant and split peas. A nice play of textures with a definite protein boost.

This was a delicious stew to return home to, especially since it was so cold upon our return. Curl up with a bowl of stew any day you need some a virtual warm hug from a bowl.

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays and to E.A.T. World for Iraq and to Ricki’s Wellness Weekend.

Iraqi-Inspired Eggplant and Seitan Stew

1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup yellow split peas, rinsed and picked over
6 cups water

1/4 tsp Aleppo chili flakes, or to taste
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cardamom

1 cup vital wheat gluten (gluten flour)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 tsp liquid smoke
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon tahini or other nut butter
3/4 cup cold water

1-2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 large eggplant, diced
additional seasonings, to taste

1. Heat a large pot or pressure cooker and add the chopped onion. Cook, stirring, until onion is caramel colored and flecked with brown, 6-10 minutes. (Be careful not to burn.) Add the split peas, water, chili flakes and spices (smoked paprika, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, pepper and cardamom). Cover and cook until split peas are dissolving. How long this takes will depend on the age of your split peas but allow at least an hour for regular stove-top cooking. Once cooked, split peas should still be very watery, not thick like soup. Add water as necessary to prevent drying out.

2. While the split-peas cook, prepare the seitan. Mix the dry ingredients together and add the cold water and tahini (or other nut butter). Mix well. Turn out on a board and knead several times. Flatten out the dough, and using a sharp knife, cut it into rough 1/2-3/4 inch cubes. Set cubes aside. Trim the eggplant and cut it into 1/2-inch pieces.

3. Once the split peas are completely tender and starting to fall apart, add the salt, pomegranate molasses, seitan, and eggplant to the pot. There should be enough liquid that the ingredients are just covered but are not floating. If necessary, add more water. Check seasonings and add more if necessary. Cover loosely and cook at a low simmer, stirring often, for about 45 minutes, until seitan is firm and cooked all the way through and eggplant is tender. (Toward the end, be sure to stir from the bottom to avoid sticking.) Serve in bowls with rice or pita bread.

Serves 6.

  1. Ho, you’ve sold me with the ingredient list! Just the smell must have been amazing. It’s fall and I’m eating stews and soups every day. I love crumbled seitan & bean stews, though I’ve certainly never tried making seitan for a particular dish like this. Interesting…

  2. Yum! Stew is one of the hardest things to photograph – but yours looks so delish… well done!

  3. This sounds really intriguing and looks so delicious! I’m bookmarking it for a rainy day. 😀

  4. What a delicious stew to come home to!

  5. I’ve been meaning to make this for FOREVER but…I’m kind of scared of seitan. I think it’s time I took the plunge!

  6. This looks hearty and delicious. I find I am liking the versatility of seitan more and more. Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays. 😉

  7. We came back from Greece the day before we had to go to work too. It’s hard not to do that because you just want your vacation to be as long as possible and deal with the consequences later haha. Wow I am seriously seriously impressed that you cooked meals and froze them before you left so you’d have something good to eat when you got home! You are inspiring Janet. This stew sounds really yummy. I love that there’s both split peas and seitan, and all the yummy spices. I need to go buy some liquid smoke.

  8. […] want even more heat)."Janet from The Taste Space returned home from vacation to enjoy this hearty Iraqi-Inspired Eggplant and Seitan Stew. She says, "…this was a savoury, comforting stew. Filled with warming spices like nutmeg, smoked […]

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