May 18, 2013

Seitan Negimaki

by IsaChandra

Makes 16 rolls
Total time: 3 hours || Active time: 40 minutes

Seitan Negimaki

I always swoon over photos of negimaki. Beautifully grilled teriyaki rolls stuffed with vibrant scallions. See? Did you swoon?

A vegan version is easy enough. The meat = seitan and the scallions = well, those are already vegan, silly! I tried to keep the ingredients list as simple as possible. The characteristics that I wanted to really shine were the charred grilled flavor and, of course, the scallions. The simple marinade of hoison and mirin really does its job, keeping things juicy with the perfect marriage of sweet and savory.

Don’t feel like you can’t serve these unless you’re having an all-out Japanese feast. If you’re hosting a little garden soiree (or just watching TV, or catering a bar mitvah…) you can serve these rolls right along hummus and stuffed mushrooms. I guess I take a fairly laid-back approach to menu planning; it’s more about the balance of the overall menu rather than following a strict flavor profile outlined by national borders. So I just try to have a good mix of fresh and cooked items, grains and proteins. The more flavors the merrier.

That said, these would be wonderful served alongside sushi or a Japanse noodle dish. Maybe with a fresh, gingery salad? You can even serve negimaki over rice, with some steamed veggies, as a main course.

However you choose to serve, have fun with it! It’s a really playful and delicious grill recipe that is worth the extra effort. SWOOOOON.

Seitan Negimaki

Recipe Notes

~To simmer the seitan, you’ll need a pot that is at least 9 inches at the base. A 5 or 6 quart pot oughtta’ do it. If you’ve only got a 4-quart, then slice the seitan log in two before simmering.

~ Make the seitan a day in advance, so that it can cool in the gingery broth overnight. Or at least give it plenty of time to cool.

~ If you’re looking for a gluten-free variation, tofu might work, but if it’s not perfectly sliced, there’s a chance it will be too finicky about wrapping.  Yuba or Soy Curls might be better options?

~ This recipe makes more seitan than you’ll need, but that’s ok! It may take a couple of tries before you get the strips perfectly thin for wrapping. And any left over seitan will be great in a stir-fry.

~ I made these on an indoor grill, but they’ll work outdoors, too! You might want to soak the toothpicks in water, so that they don’t burn too badly.

For the simmering broth:
8 cups vegetable broth
6 cloves garlic, smashed
1/4 cup fresh sliced ginger

For the seitan:
1 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
3/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup soy sauce

For the marinade:
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup mirin
3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons Sriracha (plus extra for garnish)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, microplaned or minced to a paste
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

2 bunches scallions, green parts only, sliced 3 to 4 inches long
A few tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
Plain wooden toothpicks

Make the seitan:
Place all the ingredients for the simmering broth in the pot and bring to a boil. In the meantime, make the seitan.

Combine wheat gluten and nutritional yeast in a mixing bowl. Add the water and soy sauce and knead until it forms a stiffish dough, two to three minutes.

Form dough into a flat log that is roughly 8 inches long and 4 inches wide.

When the broth is boiling, lower heat to a simmer and submerge the seitan. Simmer for 30 minutes, leaving the lid ajar so that steam can escape. Let cool completely in the broth.

Once seitan is cool, start the marinade. Simply mix all ingredients together in a wide, shallow bowl.

Now, slice the seitan. You want it to be about an 1/8 inch thick, but it doesn’t have to be perfectly even (you can see in the pic that mine wasn’t.) Just make sure that a the slice can wrap around your pinky nicely, without breaking or being unruly.

Once you have 16 slices, place them in the marinade for an hour, flipping occasionally.

Assemble and cook:
In the marinade bowl, move all the seitan to the side, and add the sliced scallions, coating them in sauce. So your bowl should be one side seitan and one side scallion, more or less.

Form the rolls on a dinner plate, to avoid messiness. Take a slice of marinated seitan and place it on a dinner plate. Place 4 or 5 scallions across, so that scallions will poke out of the ends an inch or so. Now roll the seitan around the scallion, and secure it with a toothpick or two. Make sure that the toothpicks are going in the same direction, so that you’ll be able to grill them without toothpick interference.

Once rolls are formed, heat the grill over medium heat. Spray or brush grill with oil, and cook rolls until grill marks appear. I did 8 at a time, and it took about 4 minutes on my indoor cast iron grill. Use a metal spatula to get under the rolls and flip them, spraying more oil as necessary. Cook on the other side until grill marks appear.

Transfer rolls to a serving plate. When ready to serve, drizzle with leftover marinade, and some Sriracha (if you like it spicy, it’s ok to leave off) and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Serve!

  • May 18, 2013 at 6:54 pm: Jenny

    I’m totally going to try these with bean curd sheets (thicker yuba)!

  • May 18, 2013 at 7:07 pm: Blueberries

    Wow, they look fantastic! :)

  • May 18, 2013 at 7:45 pm: Pauline S from France

    Great pics, great recipe that I’m going to test ASAP (thanks to you I learned a new English word today : I SWOONED ;-) )

  • May 18, 2013 at 10:16 pm: Thomas

    Isa, I think you mean if you do not like it spicy, leave the Sriracha off. But anyways, these look and sound amazing! Thanks for all of your wonderful recipes!

  • May 19, 2013 at 2:20 am: Eeee

    I swooned.

  • May 19, 2013 at 4:53 am: Angela Gilmore

    This is a much more basic seitan recipe than the one in Vegan with Vengeance. I tried that one and it is by far the best I’ve ever had, even better than the store bought kind; I made seitan picatta with. I am going to try this one since I have all of the ingredients already.

  • May 19, 2013 at 4:05 pm: Cynthia

    Ooh Isa, these sound and look tasty! I’ll bet this would be delicious with strips of portabello mushrooms.

    • May 19, 2013 at 7:12 pm: IsaChandra

      I thought about that, but they might be too mushy. If you try it, let me know!

  • May 19, 2013 at 5:15 pm: MamaJ

    Oh Isa. my Isa! Deez were soooooo good! Totally impressed my non- veg in laws. You are a truly talented gal who must be following your calling. So grateful!

    • May 19, 2013 at 7:12 pm: IsaChandra

      Oh you work fast. Thanks for the feedback!

  • May 19, 2013 at 9:55 pm: Sara

    Looks so delis!! Nobody can’t stop me now from trying this, haha.

  • May 20, 2013 at 4:34 pm: AshYTim

    I totally swooned!

  • May 20, 2013 at 5:02 pm: Lauren (PB&G)

    I did swoon. Oh my fudgesicles this looks AMAZING!!!!

  • May 21, 2013 at 4:40 pm: john

    I cannot find Mirin anywhere. Is there a good substitute for it?

  • May 22, 2013 at 2:15 am: Elli

    This. Looks. DELICIOUS!! I can’t wait to try it! I just wanted to suggest that you should remind people to use veggie hoisin sauce, as “regular” hoisin has oyster. I didn’t know this when I first became a vegetarian (and then I felt silly because hoisin means seafood in Cantonese)!

  • May 23, 2013 at 8:06 pm: Haley

    This might be a dumb question, but I haven’t cooked with seitan very much and the only times I see it in grocery stores it is already precut into short strips or cubes. From the description it sounds like you made it from scratch? Do you have suggestions about where to find plain wheat gluten?

  • May 23, 2013 at 10:06 pm: Britt

    Absolutely delicious and the sauce is great not too spicy, very savory disk. Any tips to get the seitan in thin strips?Some of mine were a little to thick to wrap.

  • May 24, 2013 at 1:11 pm: Roland

    Awesome! Love your books, too. This is great with asparagus, too. Keep up the great work.

  • May 24, 2013 at 4:19 pm: Kelli

    This seitan was excellent! I didn’t make negimaki out of it; I simply followed the recipe for the seitan and after it cooled I sliced it and marinated it in a homemade teriyaki sauce and then baked it in the oven. It was very tasty! I haven’t had much luck making homemade seitan before, but this time it worked out great. And I couldn’t stop sticking my face into the pot to smell the broth with garlic and ginger… who knew such a simple broth would smell so darn good? Apparently I need to cook with ginger more often… Anyways, thanks, Isa!

  • May 26, 2013 at 1:08 am: Amy

    These look amazing. Will they work out okay if I heat them in a skillet instead of over a grill? I’m thinking it might be a good idea if I start reading recipes all the way through before I start cooking.

    • May 27, 2013 at 8:09 am: IsaChandra

      Haha, yeah, reading the recipe is always good. Skimming, at least. I would try them in the broiler, but I’m sure they’ll be good sauteed, too!

  • May 26, 2013 at 10:44 am: Chools

    The best tasting seitan I’ve ever made, great recipe

  • May 26, 2013 at 1:03 pm: Mary

    Looks delicious. I can’t wait to try it!

  • May 30, 2013 at 2:26 am: cecil

    These were a huge hit. Realized halfway into it that we had no sriracha in the house, but subbed in some garlic chili paste instead – worked out just fine!

    • June 2, 2013 at 6:07 am: IsaChandra

      Excellent idea!

  • May 30, 2013 at 6:09 pm: Amy K.

    I made these this past weekend for our Supper Club and they were a hit! I had trouble getting the rolls to stay together, because my seitan strips were too short, but they were still yummy. I had leftover seitan, so I made a sauteed batch for lunch yesterday and I enjoyed those even more than the grilled ones. So juicy! My husband also asked if I would make them again just for us for dinner – so these are definitely a keeper!

    • June 2, 2013 at 6:06 am: IsaChandra

      Slice on a bias next time, if the seitan loaf doesn’t seem wide enough. Happy that you liked it anyway!

  • May 31, 2013 at 4:12 pm: Bobbi

    Thank you for another amazing recipe. We had them last night and the recipe has been permanently bookmarked for future use. So, so good. I look forward to trying the seitan in stirfry.

    • June 2, 2013 at 6:05 am: IsaChandra

      Yay, thanks for the feedback.

  • June 5, 2013 at 4:05 pm: Susan

    Is it always an option to steam seitan instead of boiling it? I’ve made it once and I steamed it (I’m new to vegan cooking), and it was excellent.

    • June 5, 2013 at 4:36 pm: IsaChandra

      It depends on the recipe. For steaming seitan recipes, I always add more flavor to the seitan itself, where in simmering recipes, I add more flavor to the broth.

  • June 19, 2013 at 4:08 am: Anni

    I haven’t heard of seitan being so easy to make – woowee!
    I like to claim that you have the greatest recipes on earth, btw.

  • July 3, 2013 at 4:59 pm: Rachel

    Grilled eggplant or fried eggplant would roll well

  • November 10, 2013 at 8:29 pm: Margaret

    OK, I need to buy an indoor cast iron grill just so I can make this. Anyone have suggestions on a brand?

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  • January 4, 2015 at 3:44 pm: Michelle

    Bloody brilliant and absolutely delicious. I made it along with cold peanut sesame noodles. I’ve never made homemade seitan before and have only had seitan once before in some soup. I was worried because I’ve read so many stories of people messing it up and have had some pretty disturbing mock meats before but this was ridiculously good. I will make this again, just a larger portion.

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