Seitan doner kebab meat – who knew vegan food could be this wrong?!

Here’s another one of those posts where lovely, healthy Mrs “all I eat is vegetables” Veg makes something that looks really wrong and unhealthy. Something normally reserved for the journey home from the pub on a Friday or Saturday night. I can’t make any health claims at all, but at least it’s better for you than the real thing (and, come to think of it, better for the lambs and whatever other poor critters end up in the kebab), and it comes with SALAD for goodness sake!

I’ve finally got the hang of making good seitan and I absolutely love it. I don’t make it very often, because vital wheat gluten is pretty expensive here in the UK, but the cost and effort involved is totally worth it because it’s crazily good. It’s the chewiest and most satisfying vegetarian meat I know, and because you can flavour it and shape it however you like it’s brilliantly versatile.

Whenever Mr Veg and I eat seitan, one of us will always observe that it could make excellent doner meat. The seitan recipe I normally use comes out a little on the beefy side, so it needed some work to change the flavour. I halved the amount of soy sauce to make it lighter, and added carrots to the broth to make it sweeter. I’ve also added typical doner spices to the seitan itself.

Recipe notes:

  • I based the recipe on Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Simmered Seitan from Isa Does It. You could use a different recipe if you prefer, but adapt it as described above.
  • If you prefer a stronger spicy flavour, you could try frying the seitan in the cumin and coriander rather than adding them to the raw dough. This could also work if you want to use shop-bought seitan rather than making your own.

Recipe (makes two very generous portions):

For the seitan:

  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon each ground cumin and coriander
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced to a fine paste
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Everything else:

  • 6 small pitta breads, warmed and split open
  • Chilli sauce or garlic mayo
  • Salad
  • Pickled jalapeños

Put the vegetable stock and the chopped carrot in a large saucepan and bring to the boil.

While you’re waiting for the pan to boil, mix together the VWG, nooch, cumin and coriander together in a medium-sized bowl. In a small jug, combine the cold water, garlic, tomato puree, and soy sauce. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix quickly until it starts to come together as a ball of dough. Knead this ball for a minute or two until smooth and elastic.

Chop the ball of dough into four equal pieces, and drop these into the boiling stock and simmer for 45 minutes. Keep an eye on the pan and do not let it boil.

Drain the seitan and allow to cool a little. Don’t throw away the cooked carrots – you could add them to a soup or stew later.

Slice the cooled seitan as thinly as you can. Allow to dry out for 10 minutes or so while you prepare the pittas, sauces, and salad.

Heat the oil in a wok or large saucepan over a medium to high heat. Fry the sliced seitan in the oil for 10 minutes until it’s as greasy or crispy as you prefer.

Serve the seitan in pittas, topped with sauce and salad. Enjoy with a beer or two and try to resist the urge to drop half of it on the pavement.

18 thoughts on “Seitan doner kebab meat – who knew vegan food could be this wrong?!

  1. I also make my own seitan & vital wheat flour is also very expensive in Belgium! You know that there is a vegan doner kebabshop,in the heart of Berlin? Really cool & Yummy too!

  2. Hoohoo! I finally ordered my first load of vital wheat gluten flour, 3k for £10 (best deal I’ve seen online @ in case you’re interested) here’s hoping this stuff is as amazing as everyone says. At least there’ll be plenty for me to play with. Your kebab meat is first on the list!

      1. Thanks for that. I’ll take your advice and start there. I’m really looking forward to trying this stuff – just got to wait for it to arrive now.

  3. I’ve made this about 20 times now. It’s an awesome recipe. I add chili powder to the dough mix to give it a bit more kick but this recipe is solid.. thank you..

  4. I have made this way too many times now to be healthy, most tasty. You can sub the garlic with half a tea spoon of powdered. I have doubled up the amount of cumin and coriander. If you want to do it in a pressure cooker, make your mix slightly wetter then give it 15 minutes and let it depressurise naturally (it works this way too but ends up a bit dry). Filter your stock once kebab is ready, fry some mushrooms, add some flour then the stock and it makes a great mushroom gravy (also making risotto with the stock is super tasty). Finally for extra lazy points, I just separate the dough in two and make long skinny sausages too so into the stock. The easiest recipe I know, probably too easy.

  5. Just made this recipe. SCARILY REALISTIC!!! Couldn’t believe it. Took 2 pieces of wholemeal seeded bread, sliced red onion, the carrot from the stock, some homemade mayo and ketchup, steamed spinach, some Tabasco and the Seitan and, OMG, no real difference from the Kebab shop on Northumberland Avenue! Thanks for the recipe! At least I know where the ‘meat’ comes from and there isn’t a whole wineglass of fat in it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s