Friday, February 13, 2009

Seitan Tikka with Jira Rice

I was flipping through an old cookbook last week, looking for ideas. A photo of lamb tikka caught my eye, because the skewered chunks of marinated lamb looked just like seitan. I still had wooden skewers left over from my first attempt at seitan, so I was game.

Foods prepared tikka-style are cut into small pieces, marinated, and then cooked quickly, close to the flame. Chicken in the ubiquitous chicken tikka-masala is prepared this way, then stewed in a creamy sauce.

The seitan needs to marinate for at least 8 hours. The marinade is fragrant, so if you’re going to work and don’t want to smell like an Indian restaurant, you’ll want to make it the night before and just pour the marinade over the seitan in the morning. You could probably use this marinade to cook other things tikka-style: tofu or potatoes might be good. If I had a grill, I would grill this.   

I served the seitan with jira rice I first made at an Indian cooking class. The recipe, which I’ve adjusted slightly over time, belongs to Shruti Mehta. It would be healthier with brown basmati rice, but it’s so warm and comforting with white.

Seitan Tikka

(adapted from Williams-Sonoma: Soups, Salads, & Starters)

2 lbs seitan (I doubled the Simple Seitan recipe from Veganomicon, but you could use store-bought seitan, or try this recipe.)

1 clove garlic, chopped
1 onion, quartered
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup plain soy yogurt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt

Prepare the seitan by cutting it into 1-2 inch chunks.

Combine the remaining ingredients, garlic through salt, in a blender or food processor and puree. Marinate the seitan in the sauce for at least 8 hours.

Soak a dozen wooden skewers in water for at least thirty minutes before you begin preparing the kebabs. This is critical. You don’t want your sticks catching fire.

When the seitan is finished marinading, preheat the oven to 400F and place the top rack 6 inches from the heating coil.

On each stick, skewer 3-4 pieces of seitan. Place the kebabs on a baking sheet.

Roast the seitan for five minutes, then remove the pan from the oven and turn the sticks. Roast for another five minutes and turn again. My seitan was cooked through after 15 minutes, but yours may cook faster or slower, depending on your oven and the size of your pieces. Eat the seitan while it’s hot.

Serves 6.
* * *
Jira Rice

1 cup basmati rice
2 cups water
2 tablespoons vegan margarine
4 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/8 cup (2 tablespoons) sliced raw almonds
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garam masala

Rinse the rice. Put it in a bowl and cover it with plenty of water. Soak the rice for 30 minutes.

Melt the margarine in a medium pot over medium heat. When hot, add the cloves. Stir for a minute, until the cloves puff up. Add the cumin seeds and almonds. Stir for 1 minute.

Add the drained rice, brown sugar, salt, and garam masala. Stir for 2 minutes.

Add the 2 cups of water and the cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat the medium-low. Without stirring, cook the rice partially covered for 7 to 10 minutes, until most of the water has evaporated. Cover completely and cook for 3 more minutes on low heat.

Remove the rice from the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks and fluff the rice with a fork before serving.

Serves 4.


  1. That looks yummy, nice pic Rod, also,,,it looks like there's a little guys with arms in the air just to the right of the almond.

  2. Hi Dave. I took over the photography because I'm home in the afternoon when there's natural light.

    That clove in the second picture is excited because the rice tastes so good.

  3. That rice looks & sounds really good, I love any kind of tasty rice dish, Yum! Thanks for giving me the link to this wonderful recipe! Oh, and a bonus of seitan recipe, I'll definitely be making Seitan Satay with peanut sauce for my friend Dee Dee. I really appreciate your time, Mary:)


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