May 18th, 2013

Seitan Negimaki

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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


~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!

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