Vegan yakitori are plant-based seitan skewers with a spicy sauce. They are a fun and "meaty" snack that go really well for a BBQ or during summer dinner parties.
If you don't know me, I'm in love with Japanese food. I could live in Japan just so I can eat my way around the country. It's amazing. While Japan is great for vegans, sometimes there are things I miss, like yakitori, which are Japanese skewers. Not to worry though, as I have found a way to create the most incredible vegan skewers, which truly taste like yakitori and have that gorgeous consistency we all love. A little chewy, burnt around the edges and super spicy.
What are yakitori
Yakitori is a Japanese type of skewered meat. The preparation involved skewering the meat and grilling it over a charcoal fire. The meat is usually seasoned with sauce and salt.
Our vegan yakitori are meant to imitate the consistency of the meat (chicken) and our seasoning is slightly on the spicier side. In all fairness, seitan doesn't have any taste so it's imperative that we add a lot of seasoning to it. The results are delicious.
The sauce is spicy and sticky and really reminds us of those fantastic skewer snacks we enjoyed so much in Japan. Plant-based yakitori? Yes, please! We're living for it. And since the BBQ season is officially open, don't forget to make the vegan steak, vegan sausages and vegan ribs. You can always serve it with refreshing sides like the easy cantaloupe salad, mango carrot salad or just mango salsa. Are you drooling too?
Vegan Yakitori ingredients
I'm going to separate the ingredients into two categories: vegan meat and sauce.
Vital wheat gluten - This is the most important ingredient for making incredible vegan yakitori and no, it cannot be replaced with anything else. I fo love using vital wheat gluten in all my mock meats. Although sometimes I experiment with tofu and create an amazing pepperoni as well. It goes without saying that this recipe contains gluten and it's not suitable for anyone who is gluten intolerant.
Water - Tap water is just fine for this one. You will need it so you can hydrate the vital wheat gluten.
Vegetable stock - One little cube of vegetable stock or a tsp if you're using loose veggie stock. We're talking about dried vegetable stock and not liquid one! This is super important!
Paprika - I prefer spicy paprika for this recipe for you can also use smoked paprika.
Coriander powder - Ground coriander or coriander powder. Oh how I love this ingredient as it really gives such fantastic taste to my mock meats. I'm sure you've noticed that I use it in a lot of my dishes, so this is a must in my pantry.
Chilli powder - Spice spice and more spice. I do love a spicy dish I'm not going to lie. So make sure you add a much as you're comfortable with. My yakitori is spicy! So tune it down if needed.
Garlic powder - Delicious garlic powder, makes the seitan smell and taste a little more like chicken. Probably because I used to always add garlic to my chicken because it tastes so much better. It really enhances it.
Ketchup - Any ketchup brand will work. This is the base for your sauce. Don't worry, your result won't taste like ketchup. It will be a nice, spicy and delicious sauce.
Tabasco - Ideally you will want to use hot and smoky tabasco for this. Any tabasco will work but if you come across the Tabasco chipotle version in your local supermarket, go for that one!
Soy sauce - This will make your sauce salty and delicious. I much prefer adding soy sauce instead of salt.
Vinegar - Any vinegar will work. You can use balsamic vinegar or rice vinegar. Whatever you have in your pantry.
Agave syrup - A touch of sweetness to bring out the flavours in the sauce. If you don't have agave syrup you can use a couple of tsp of brown sugar instead. Just make sure you really dissolve it well.
Garlic powder - I strongly recommend garlic powder and not fresh garlic even if you mince it well. The powder has a softer taste which works much better with this recipe.
Paprika - Finally, there's no spicy sauce without more paprika. Again, I recommend spicy paprika buy you can use any paprika you have in your pantry.
How to make the vegan yakitori
Place all yakitori ingredients in a large bowl. Using chopsticks or a fork, start mixing everything together until the seitan starts coming together.
Using your hands, start kneading the seitan while still inside the water. When it all comes together, remove from the water into a different bowl.
Let it sit for about 25 minutes. When ready, cut the seitan into 6-8 equal pieces. Take each piece, stretch and roll it around a skewer to create a spiral, long shape. Remove from the skewer and place in a large, deep pan.
Cover the seitan spirals with boiling water and add a tbsp of sea salt. Boil for about 25 minutes.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
Line a baking tray with a baking sheet.
Prepare the sauce by mixing all ingredients in a bowl. When the seitan spirals are boiled, drain and allow to cool for a few minutes. Place each seitan spiral on a skewer stick and using a sharp knife, make dents into the "meat".
Brush each spiral with plenty of sauce and place it on the baking sheet.
Bake for 25 minutes in the centre of the oven. You can turn them halfway through.
Allow the yakitori to cool a little and brush with a little more sauce or with a little olive oil if you prefer.
This recipe has been developed entirely by Yuzu Bakes. Any resemblance with other recipes is purely coincidental.