Thai Seitan on Lemongrass Skewers

by on December 6, 2008
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Thai Seitan on Lemongrass SkewersFor a dish with two strikes against it, this came out tasting surprisingly good.

Strike one: Lemongrass was never meant to hold the weight of cooked wheat gluten.

Strike two: They look like wieners on sticks.

I had high hopes for this recipe, though I will admit that my main hope was very superficial: I wanted it to look good. I’d seen some very gorgeous photos of lemongrass chicken kabobs on a blog called Kayotic Kitchen, and I just couldn’t resist trying to veganize the recipe. If you want something vegan that will wrap around a stick and stay there, gluten is probably your best option, so I decided to flavor seitan with Thai seasonings and steam it in the manner I’ve completely stolen from Julie Hasson.

Though they came out looking like some kind of ancient symbol of virility, these kabobs were delicious. The lemongrass gives them a great flavor and aroma, but I really believe that the seitan is better off on its own. Besides their unfortunate appearance, the lemongrass skewers tend to bend under the weight of seitan, and no one wants a droopy kabob! Just for fun, I’ve included the details of cooking the seitan on the skewers, but I really recommend saving your lemongrass for a something else and serving the seitan either sliced or cubed, with sturdy toothpicks to help convey it from sauce to mouth.

Thai Seitan on Lemongrass Skewers

Thai Seitan on Lemongrass Skewers

(printer-friendly version)

These can be made more easily without the skewers. Just roll up the dough like sausages and proceed with the recipe. The cooked “sausages” can be sliced and served on toothpicks as an appetizer.


  • 6 lemongrass stalks
  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • generous grating of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground flax seeds
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 green onion, sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon red chili pepper, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Imagine No-Chicken Broth (or any light vegetable broth)
  • 1 tablespoon white or yellow miso
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • juice of 1/2 lime


Remove the outer leaves from the lemongrass stalks and trim them so that they’re about 12 inches long. (Trim the free end, not the end where the leaves are joined.)

Mix the dry ingredients, wheat gluten through sesame seeds, stirring well to distribute the seasonings evenly. Stir in the ginger, green onion, chili pepper, and garlic.

Whisk the miso with a couple tablespoons of the broth until smooth. Stir in the rest of the broth, and then pour this as well as the sesame oil and lime juice into the dry ingredients and stir until well-mixed.

Divide the dough into six equal portions, about 1/3 cup each. Place a piece of foil, about 8 inches long, on your work surface and shape one of the portions of dough into a tube about 3-4 inches in length.

Thai Seitan

Press a lemongrass stalk into the dough, about 1 inch from the top of the stalk:

Thai Seitan

Shape the dough up around the lemongrass, and pinch the edges sealed:

Thai Seitan

Place your palm on top of the dough, and gently roll it back and forth to even it out and seal it completely:

Thai Seitan

Pull the bottom edge of foil over the dough and roll up. Pinch both ends sealed, and place into a steamer. It doesn’t matter if the skewer sticks out. Repeat with the other pieces of dough.

Thai Seitan

Put the cover on the steamer as best you can; again, it won’t matter if it isn’t completely sealed. Bring water to a boil and steam for 30 minutes.

When the seitan is cool enough to handle, unwrap it and brown it lightly in an oiled grill pan or skillet. Serve with peanut sauce or sweet and sour sauce with wedges of lime.

Cooking time (duration): 50

Number of servings (yield): 6

Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 130 Calories (kcal); 3g Total Fat; (16% calories from fat); 19g Protein; 10g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 200mg Sodium; 2g Fiber. Weight Watchers 2 Points.

Copyright © Susan Voisin 2011. All rights reserved. Please do not repost recipes or photos to other websites.

Thai Seitan on Lemongrass Skewers

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 SusanV August 6, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Here are the original comments that were lost when the blog was moved:

Laura said…

That does look really good! Congrats on the amazing visual appeal!

4:50 PM, December 06, 2008
Rachel said…

I did a vegan
kabob on lemongrass skewers that come out okay, it is all about the weight distribution!

5:06 PM, December 06, 2008
Veronica said…

I think that these look great. Definitely a combination I’d love to try!

5:33 PM, December 06, 2008
veggie belly said…

This looks a lot like a dish I had in Indonesia – veggie skeweres on lemongrass sticks with peanut sauce. I think the seitan looks gorgeous on the lemongrass 🙂

5:49 PM, December 06, 2008
shelby said…

YUM! I love seitan and all the flavorings you used on this sounds fabulous!

6:06 PM, December 06, 2008
Mary Gondola said…

Okay, that’s it, lady. I order you to write a cookbook! Those pictures made me drool, and I just ate dinner! I’ve never made my own seitan, but now I have to try it. You’re so inspiring!

7:36 PM, December 06, 2008
OpenID said…

I love using lemon grass skewers. It’s a great way of infusing flavor into whatever is wrapped around it.

7:45 PM, December 06, 2008
Gina said…

Mmm, I love seitan, and I love Thai! I actually bought some dried lemongrass at a craft fair I went to today (of all place)…might be good thrown into that seitan mix.

For weiners on a stick, they sure look pretty!!

9:23 PM, December 06, 2008
herbstsonne said…

So clever! Can’t wait to try these!

11:21 PM, December 06, 2008
Carol H. said…

I have a question about the steaming part. If I don’t want to put the “sausages” on the skewer. do I stil have to wrap them in aluminum foil in order to steam them? Can I just boil them for a little (or put them on a steamer tray?)

They look really good 🙂

6:21 AM, December 07, 2008
Alyssa said…

You’re the best susan 🙂 And food on sticks RULES!

Could you do this on sugarcane skewers perhaps? I’ve seen cooking shows where people will do shrimp paste or some other nasty sounding thing on a piece of perfectly innocent sugarcane…

I’ve never used them so no Idea how they’d hold up, but on t.v. they looked pretty sturdy!

11:41 AM, December 07, 2008
OpenID mad about udon said…

I love this idea, it’s so creative and visually appealing. Looks very tasty, too!

11:42 AM, December 07, 2008
SusanV said…

Carol, yes, wrap the “sausages” in aluminum foil before steaming. If you don’t, they absorb too much water–or at least, that’s what I’ve read.

Thanks, Alyssa! The problem with seitan and any kind of skewer is that it weighs so much more than shrimp or chicken paste. Tofu works, of course, but it doesn’t have the same visual appeal–i.e., it keeps looking like tofu!

11:47 AM, December 07, 2008
LadyRachelLynn said…

Not having worked with seitan, I have no idea, but would putting them into rectangles and weaving the grass through them help? Like teriyaki’s? Also, would it possible to slide a wooden skewer through the lemon grass to maintain stability and visual appeal? Or is lemongrass not hollow?

4:17 PM, December 07, 2008
Alyssa said…

PS – You are the seitan QUEEN!!!! Great recipies, Susan 🙂

12:13 AM, December 08, 2008
Nazarina A said…

The strike 3 for this beautiful seitan is that it is going to be “polished off.”

9:54 AM, December 08, 2008
OpenID cynthiablue said…

Wow cool! They look interesting for sure! Actually I like the look, very nice. I need to try the taste!

9:57 AM, December 08, 2008
Anonymous said…

Thanks for the recipe. Sounds terrific!

A little recommendation, I found these to be so delicious and useful in my kitchen:



12:51 PM, December 08, 2008
Lovliebutterfly said…

The aroma of these ones must be fabulous!

2:04 PM, December 08, 2008
Anonymous said…

This looks fantastic and I can’t wait to try it. Quick question…my vegan Mom can’t have any soy (I know) so the seitan part is perfect. What do you suggest I can replace the miso with? Any idea would be helpful.

3:36 PM, December 08, 2008
SusanV said…

I’d replace the miso with a teaspoon of salt or vegetable bouillon. I hope she enjoys it!

4:03 PM, December 08, 2008
Bianca said…

Hey, ain’t nothin’ wrong with weiner on a stick! But seriously, these are lovely. Unfortunately, I don’t have a clue where to get fresh lemongrass around here. But I do adore the Julie method for steaming seitan sausages.

4:37 PM, December 08, 2008
Deanne said…

Those look delicious and I bet they would be really good grilled on sugarcane sticks as well if you can find them. Savory foods on sugarcane is delicious, and then you can chew on the cane afterward

8:53 PM, December 08, 2008
MARIE said…

What if you impaled the lemongrass skewer with a regular wooden skewer ? That should firm the puppy up

11:49 AM, December 12, 2008
The Veggie Guy said…

Actually, I think it works out quite well visually. Glad to hear it turned out despite your misgivings.

2:02 PM, December 12, 2008
Virginie Péan said…

A very good idea. Perfume & esthetic ! I keep, thanks.

2:42 PM, December 12, 2008


2 Stephanie March 2, 2011 at 7:46 pm

This is our go-to recipe for seitan when we are making stirfry. What we do is take 2 logs (one per person), slice them lengthwise into strips (we get 8 strips out of each log). The toss them in a frying pan and lightly coat with our favorite teriyaki marinade, and cook until the strips are very lightly crispy. It’s the perfect teriyaki “meat” to go with our strifry!


3 agnès April 6, 2011 at 3:28 pm

wow looks yummy ^^
i might even get my BF to eat seitan this way 😉


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