Tamarind Seitan Kabobs

Tamarind Seitan Kabobs

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Hello July!

I’ve been sitting on this tamarind glaze recipe for a while.  It needed something summery, something involving a grill, and something you can eat with your hands.

It needed seitan kabobs!

Who doesn’t love a kabob?  You can put anything you want on a kabob, and these are no exception.  I made my own seitan chunks (based off of Susan’s Seitan Ribz from FFVK) and added some freshly blanched broccoli, but any veggie that floats your boat, tofu, store-bought seitan… if it’s vegan and you can poke it with a stick, it’ll probably work.  Because this recipe?  It’s all about the sauce.

I LOVE this sauce.

I used to have to drive to a specialty Indian grocer to get tamarind concentrate (I prefer it to the pulp, if you have a choice), but I recently saw it sitting at Whole Foods near the grilling sauces.  The brand I use is called Tamicon, and it comes in a little yellow and red tub.  It keeps forever.  Buy some.

The base of this glaze is the tangy tamarind concentrate and sweet, sweet agave nectar (also available pretty much everywhere nowadays, near the honey).  I give it a little depth with tamari, and some spicey notes with cumin and ginger.  It’s awesome.  And if you have a whisk, or a fork for that matter, you can make it.

Tamarind Seitan Kabobs

Tamarind Seitan Kabobs
Makes 10 Kabobs (3 Pieces of Seitan Per Kabob)

1 Recipe Seitan, below
1 Recipe Tamarind Glaze, below
20 Broccoli Florets, or 20 Veggie Pieces, your choice
Wooden Skewers, with pointy ends

Seitan Cubes
1 Cup Vital Wheat Gluten
2 tsp Smoked Paprika
2 Tbs Nutritional Yeast
2 tsp Bill’s Best Chik’Nish Seasoning, optional
3/4 Cup Water
2 Tbs Olive Oil
1 Tbs Soy Sauce

Vegetable Stock, for simmering

Tamarind Glaze
1 Tbs Tamarind Concentrate
1/4 Cup Agave Nectar
1 Tbs Tamari or Soy Sauce
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Ginger
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Molasses
Black Pepper

Chopepd SeitanBegin by making the seitan.  In a medium bowl, combine the gluten with the dry ingredients and mix well.  Add the wet ingredients and knead for a few minutes. With a large knife, divide the seitan in half, and in half again. Continue to cut each piece in half until you have about 30 bite-sized chunks of seitan.

Place a large skillet (one that has sides) on the stove and fill with 1-2″ of vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer, then add the seitan cubes. The stock should be about level with the seitan, the same amount of liquid you’d use for braising. GENTLY simmer (no boiling allowed!) for 8-10 minutes. When the seitan chunks are done, they should be larger, paler, and springier than when you started. Remove the seitan chunks with a slotted spoon. Set them aside until they’re cool enough to handle.

Save the braising broth to blanch any vegetables you’ll be using on your kabobs.

Simmered Seitan

Blanch any veggies in the leftover broth and drain and set aside.  Stir together your tamarind glaze and set aside.

Making Kabobs

Begin assembling your kabobs.  Be careful with smaller pieces of veggies (especially broccoli), as they’ll split and fall off the skewer if they’re not large enough.  I like to alternate veggie/seitan/veggie, but it’s your kabob, so make it the way you want!

Kabobs, ready to grillAt this point, you can refrigerate the assembled kabobs for later. Wrap them up and they’ll be ready for grilling whenever you (or your party guests!) are ready for them.  Everything can be made a day ahead, even the sauce, so all you’ll need is a few minutes to grill before serving.

Speaking of the grill, here are a few tips:

  • If you’re grilling outside, soak the skewers in water for a few hours before assembling the kabobs. This will prevent them from, um, catching on fire.
  •  Larger pieces of veggies will stay on the skewers more securely
  •  Like all sweet glazes, be careful or they’ll burn!  Add the glaze towards the end of grilling, not right away.
  • This will work just as well in a grill pan inside.
  • Once you’re ready to grill, unwrap the kabobs and throw them on. Everything is already cooked, so you don’t need to worry about anything other than 1) heating the kabob up 2) getting some nice grill marks and 3) caramelizing the sauce a little.  I failed at getting grill marks, but the kabobs were still pretty.

    Grill for a minute or two on each side, then brush the sauce over the kabobs. When the sauce starts to sizzle and bubble, your kabobs are done. Serve immediately with lots of napkins.

    Tamarind Seitan Kabobs


    1. chiku

      question for you…for most seitan recipes, you simmer for an hour…this one is only 8-10 min…is that mainly b/c the pieces are so small? just curious. can’t wait to try the recipe out.

      Yup, exactly.

    2. Valerie

      Thank you for this recipe. I’ve always wanted to make seitan, but haven’t tried it yet. I love tamarind anything, so it is the impetus to try this out.

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    4. Aimee

      Thank you so much for this sauce recipe. I once tried an amazing tamarind dipping sauce at Cheesecake Factory but have never gotten around to duplicating it. This sounds like it just might do the trick! Can’t wait to try it! Thanks!

    5. charley

      oooooooo these look so good! i am definitely going to try this recipe. do you ever use chia seeds in any of your recipes?? my cousin who has been a vegan for years turned me on to them because they add a load of nutrition to food that is missing in a lot of vegan dishes (especially omega-3) and they don’t really change the taste of the dish.i just bought a bag from thechiaseed.com but i wanted to know if anyone else is using chia seeds and if they have any great recipes? thanks in advance!

    6. Sarah

      Can’t wait to try this! Is there something one should sub for the Bill’s Best seasoning? I haven’t been able to find it.

    7. Mihir

      These look amazing – can you substitute tofu for the Seitan cubes to make the recipe easier? Thanks. Mihir

      Of course, that would work just fine!

    8. Lauren

      Just made these, except I didn’t have tamarind on hand (I know it’s sort of the focus of the recipe, but I like any kind of sweet sauce so I subbed) and used some orange and lime juice in its place. It was really really tasty! The only problem was that my seitan was really really mushy. Did I not simmer long enough? Too much liquid in the dough?

      I’d simmer for longer, yes!

    9. Kate

      omg these look so good. will you just come over and cook them for me? i am scared of Seitan! maybe i will just buy the stuff one day and make it (not holding my breath) but wow… so so so craving these now!!

    10. Talisma

      I am always surprised by your creativity and your pictures… is it great to be vegan especially because of your food :) thanks so much

    11. Christine

      I just made these last night, I was concerned about the texture so I simmered for a a little while longer. Once I took them off the stove I took them out of the liquid and let them drain and then made the sauce and chopped my veggies. By the time (10minutes) I got back to them, they thickened up a bit.

      They tasted amazing and it was a quick and easy meal if you grill on your stove with a grill pan or a grill press (like a Foreman Grill or Griddler), especially for seitan

    12. thedalyn

      I made these yesterday for a BBQ and they were a big hit. I’m just sorry that I didn’t double the recipe (at least) since I only got 7 kabobs out of the recipe. Still, I definitely know what I’ll be doing with that huge jar of tamarind concentrate…

    13. justina

      I haven’t been able to find vital wheat gluten. Is using the packaged seitan, white wave brand, going to give me a comparable taste or is there some other spices I can add to it to make it suit this recipe?

      As far as using White Wave brand I’ve had success and I like the taste of that brand pretty well but my husband sometimes complains about it being too soy-saucy tasting. I make tacos and burritos with it all the time, sauteeing with chopped onion, and minced garlic, then seasoning with cumin, cayenne, and chili powder. My hubby likes them, but still complains that it tastes like soy sauce too much. I don’t taste it but I dunno if he’s just super sensitive to it or what. Is there something else I can do to the seitan to avert this taste for him?

    14. verydeliciousveggie

      I have been going crazy looking for tamarind concentrate everywhere with no luck (besides online)…

      I have found tamarind pods but don’t know if I’m up to the task of making my own concentrate.

    15. Michelle

      We tried this tonight with purchased seitan. Since I over-steamed the broccoli, we just grilled the protein and served with chopped broccoli over kamut soba.

      The glaze was excellent as a glaze on both seitan (for me) and chicken (for my husband). It was a bit too sweet as a pasta sauce, so we added chili garlic sauce and a bit of toasted sesame oil for balance. All in all it was a great meal.

    16. Frau in Canada

      This was awesome! I couldn’t find any agave nectar, however in Canada we have lots of maple syrup so I used that instead. I loved being able to have ready-to-eat seitan in 10 mins. All of the other recipes I have used get you to make this big seitan log and cook it for an hour. The other thing I really liked about your recipe is that the seitan chunks were very tasty. Again comparing to other recipes the broth has been more flavourful than the seitan. Great job!

    17. lauren

      I cook a lot of SE Asian and indian foods. I used to use the concentrate, preferring the convenience over tamarind pulp (which comes in a block and has to be processed with hot water). But once I tried the pulp and discovered what an entirely different flavor it has–I never went back to the concentrate. The concentrate has a dark, bitter, molasses-y taste, while freshly-made “thick tamarind juice” has a tart, fruity flavor. All you do is take a 1″ block of the pulp and pour over 1 cup of boiling water. Let it sit for 15 minutes or so, until cool enough to immerse your hand, and then squeeze and massage the pulp until it’s as dissolved as possible. Let sit another 15 minutes to thicken and then strain out the seeds.

    18. danielle

      Random Q: I have been looking for a hearty beef-like stew and I am so new to the vegan movement :) Could I use this recipe for your cubes in a stew? Has anyone tried it? Would it work? I guess I should just try it! Love your recipes BTW!!!

    19. Jane

      The tamarind flavor intrigues me a lot, I like the sour flavor and I think my friends would love to try this dish. I never tried using tamarind flavor so I’m somewhat excited about how it will end up tasting. I guess I’m gonna use variety of veggies on this but the broccoli looks great. I think carrots and some bell pepper would be great. Thanks for sharing a wonderful recipe.

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