Seitan Tikka Kebabs

I was raised a BBQ-grill purist, which meant every cookout required lighting up charcoal. While I honor the craftsmanship with which my Dad stacked pyramids of Kingsford briquettes, I seldom make the effort myself. 9 times out of 10 I’ll just make kebabs under the broiler.

The broiler is the most under-appreciated household appliance. Every kitchen has one, but most just use it to store odd pots and pans that gather dust. But beyond indoor grilling, the broiler performs miracles such as crisping up the top of a frittata after it has set on the stovetop, melting gooey cheese over casseroles, or caramelizing bananas for a memorable dessert.

This recipe will work both on the grill (hooray for you!) or under the broiler (fist bump, pajama pants chef). Either way, make sure you let the kebabs get some char on them. Nothing says summer to me more than flame-kissed morsels of food! Seitan is a great meat substitute in this case because it holds up to heat more than tofu, tempeh, or carefully crafted fake meats. For a gluten-free option, go with mushrooms.

A note about Basbaas sauce: This tamarind date sauce is one of Hawa Hassan’s first two Somali sauces available in NYC and online. When you try it you will wonder where this condiment has been all your life. It is sweet, tangy, and soulful. Beyond this recipe, it is great spread on toast, melted into stir-fry, or folded into a burrito.

seitan kebabs anitas yogurt basbaas sauce

Seitan Tikka Kebabs
(Serves 2)

1 cup   Anita’s Yogurt
½ cup Basbaas Tamarind Date Sauce
16 oz   seitan, excess liquid removed and cut into 1 ½-inch pieces (recommend The Bridge brand)
8 oz     cherry tomatoes (about 15 tomatoes)
1 ea     bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
10 ea   pearl or boiler onions, trimmed and peeled

To make tikka marinade, whisk together Anita’s Yogurt and Basbaas Tamarind Date Sauce until smooth.

Transfer ¾ cup of the marinade to a large bowl. Add the seitan, tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions to the bowl and toss to coat in marinade. Marinate for an hour at room temperature, or overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat broiler or grill. Thread the marinated seitan and vegetables onto skewers and place kebabs on lightly oiled baking sheet. Broil until seitan and vegetables begin to brown, 5-10 minutes per side. Serve warm over rice or greens, drizzled with remaining tikka marinade.

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