Makes 6 servings
Time (not including making homemade seitan): 1 hour
Up until yesterday, I didn’t really get chicken waffles. But for Valentine’s Day, I decided to cave to societal pressure, and enjoy a juicy, savory, fried hunk of something over a carby, crispy something, covered in sticky sweetness. Even if it makes no sense! I mean, where is the kale? Where are the lentils? Sigh. OK.
Those thoughts plagued me as I stirred the batter and simmered the seitan, although each component was nice on its own. The waffles were perfectly crisp, and I knew they’d be able to handle the syrup without sogging up. The chicken-style seitan came out really flavorful, with a firm but tender texture. The breading on the seitan was totally delish and I couldn’t help but eat a piece straight out of the cast iron skillet. OK, maybe two pieces.
For the syrup, I wanted a bit of V-tine love, and so pomegranate saves the day! Pomegranate molasses is an easy way to infuse flavor into the maple syrup. Plus, the seeds from whole pomegranates are just as romantic as you can get and they look like they’re from another planet (a very romantic planet, to be sure.) So yeah, everything looked great, but all together? I don’t know. My inner chicken and waffle skeptic still had her arms folded.
I took a triangle of waffle (surely, that’s all I would need to know for sure), tucked a little slice of breaded seitan in there, and dredged it in some of the syrup. Well, needless to say, the angels sang. A marching band appeared out of nowhere. Glitter confetti flew from the ceiling. I think I caught a glimpse of Ryan Seacrest. OMG this was good.
So now I totally get it. A sweet and savory combo that maybe isn’t for everyday, but for a special brunch or a Valentine’s dinner, this is where it’s at.
~If you don’t feel like dealing with all the pomegranate stuff, just use straight-up maple syrup. Maybe add a few raspberries for garnishing prettiness.
~To make the recipe less cumbersome, simmer the seitan a day ahead, and remember you have loads of downtime as it simmers.
~You can also totally make the waffles up to a week ahead. Freeze them in a plastic storage bag and simply toast when ready to eat.
~If you’re especially lazy, you can use storebought seitan. But I really really love this seitan recipe so I hope you’ll try it. Especially because then you really have control of the shape of the seitan, plus, it will just taste better!
~The homemade seitan makes double what you’ll need for this recipe, but I figure if you’re making it, why not make some extra for the week? It’s really great grilled for salads or sandwiches.
For the pomegranate syrup:
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
Fresh pomegranate seeds
For the waffles:
2 cups almond milk (vanilla or plain), or your fave non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon organic cornstarch
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the chicken:
1/2 batch (1 pound) Chicken Stylee Seitan, or equivalent storebought
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup water
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
Several dashes fresh black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
Make the syrup:
Just mix the syrup and pomegranate molasses together in a measuring cup, yay!
Make the waffles:
In a 2 cup measuring cup, use a fork to vigorously mix about half the milk with the cornstarch, until fully dissolved. Add the remaining milk and the vinegar and set aside.
In the meantime, combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center.
Add the milk mixture to the flour along with water, oil, and vanilla. Mix until the batter is relatively smooth. A few lumps are a-OK.
Preheat waffle iron and let the batter rest. Cook according to waffle iron directions, spraying the waffle iron liberally with oil or cooking spray between each waffle is made.
Make the chicken:
Have ready a few layers of paper towels (or brown paper shopping bags) for absorbing the oil after frying.
We will bread the seitan before starting the oil. This way you don’t have to worry about overheating the oil while you bread. You’ll need to fry in two batches.
Slice each piece of seitan into 4 slices, on a bias, so that you have long wing looking pieces.
You’ll need a big plate for breading and a wide bowl for batter. In the bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch and water. Mix vigorously until thick and smooth. Set aside.
On the plate, mix together the bread crumbs, thyme, salt and pepper.
Now let’s assemble!
Dip each seitan slice into the the wet batter, letting the excess drip off. Transfer to the breadcrumbs bowl and use the other hand to sprinkle a handful of breadcrumbs over the seitan, to coat completely. Make sure you use one hand for the wet batter and the other for the dry batter, or you’ll end up with club hand. Set each piece aside on a big plate, then start your frying oil.
Now let’s fry!
Preheat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, pour in about 1/2 an inch of oil. Wait about a minute. Now test the oil by throwing in a pinch of breadcrumbs. It should sizzle and bubble without smoking, then you know it’s ready. If it burns or smokes quickly, lower the heat. If it just sits there doing not much of anything, raise the heat.
Without overcrowding the pan, fry each piece of seitan for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Transfer to paper towels to drain the oil, and then do the next batch.
Place a few pieces of seitan over the waffle. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and serve with plenty of syrup. ::SWOON::