These vegan hot dogs have the bite, elasticity and chewiness of a regular hot dog, but with A LOT more flavour. I'm pretty sure they're what your summer is missing.
The secret to vegan hot dogs that actually feel and taste like hot dogs (and not just nuts, mushrooms and beans in the form of a hot dog) is vital wheat gluten. It gives the vegan hot dogs the bite, elasticity and chewiness that a regular hot dog has.
What in the world is vital wheat gluten is what you're probably wondering. What sounds weird is actually a simple ingredient once you get your head around it. Vital wheat gluten is essentially wheat flour that has been hydrated to activate the gluten and then processed to remove everything that isn't gluten, making it almost pure gluten. The same way gluten gives bread its elasticity, vital wheat gluten gives these hot dogs their elasticity. That's why subbing the vital wheat gluten with another flour wouldn't quite work here as they wouldn't hold together. It's also reason why this mixture needs to be kneaded - it develops the bite hot dogs typically have and stops them from being mushy. Where to find it? Great question, I tend to buy it in health food shops or online.
Once being formed, the hot dogs are first boiled and then grilled. Cooking them twice might sound overkill and like too much effort but it's worth it. Boiling them while wrapped ensures their shape holds and that they cook through, whereas the final grill caramelises the edges and makes them crisp.
30 mins (+ resting)
2 tbsp olive oil
300g white onion/shallots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
240g chickpeas, drained and rinsed
115ml vegetable stock
165g vital wheat gluten
2 shallots, sliced into rounds
3 tbsp flour
½ tsp salt
Vegetable oil, for frying
6 hot dog buns
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, and add the sliced onions and garlic. Add a pinch of salt and sauté for 10-12 minutes, until golden and starting to brown.
Transfer the onions and garlic to a food processor, along with remaining salt, tomato puree, cumin, paprika and chickpeas. Blend on high speed until a thick puree forms. Whilst the food processor is running, add the stock.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl along with the vital wheat gluten and stir with a spatula to combine. Tip the mixture onto a floured work surface (either with more vital wheat gluten or regular flour) and knead for 6-8 minutes, until soft and springy. It shouldn’t feel wet - if it does, add an additional 1-2 tbsp of flour and knead for another 2 minutes.
Place the dough back into the bowl and cover it with a damp tea towel. Let it sit for 30 minutes, to allow the gluten to rest and hydrate.
Once the mixture has rested, tip it back onto a floured surface. Roll it out into a roughly 20x8cm rectangle. Slice the rectangle into 6 equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll each out to the shape of a hot dog, around 3cm thick.
Prepare 6 pieces of foil, with the shiny side facing upwards. Place a hot dog at the top of foil and roll it as tightly as you can down the span of the foil until you have a thin and long cylinder.
Tightly (that’s important) wrap the sides to make what should look like a long wrapped sweet. Repeat with the remaining 5 hot dogs. If you think you haven’t wrapped them tightly, you might want to wrap them a second time in cling film to ensure water doesn’t get in the foil whilst they’re being boiled.
Bring a large pot of water to a simmer over medium heat. Place the 6 wrapped hot dogs into the water, making sure they’re fully submerged. Simmer the hot dogs for 35 minutes, then remove them from the boiling water and rinse under cold water. Let cool for 10 minutes before unwrapping them.
Once the hot dogs are cool, heat a griddle pan over medium high heat. Drizzle it with oil, and place the unwrapped hot dogs onto it. Grill the hot dogs for a minute on each side, until slightly browned.
While the hot dogs boil, prepare the crispy onions. Fill a heavy set and sturdy pot with vegetable oil and heat it to 180˚C - or until a small piece of onion dropped in starts bubbling heavily immediately.
Add the flour and salt to a small bowl and mix to combine. Toss half the sliced shallots in and around the flour to coat, and then into the oil. Fry for 2-3 minutes, until golden and crisp.
Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the oil and onto a tray or bowl lined with kitchen paper. Repeat with the other half of the shallots. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
Once your hot dogs and shallots are ready, get ready to serve. Slice the buns, place a hot dog inside, then top with ketchup, mustard, crispy shallots and anything else your heart desires.