imbb #19: i can't believe i ate vegan: seitan shawarma
this posting is in honor of imbb#19 "i can't believe i ate vegan". actually i can believe i ate vegan, being as that is what i eat most of the time. that is when i'm not sneaking slices of pizza or surreptitiously digging my spoon into some poor friend's rapidly diminishing carton of ice cream after a few too many glasses of wine. red wine. always red wine.
i love the idea of this imbb since people seem to have this image of vegans as being pale, anemic, birkenstock shod, armpit hair sporting, mustachiod (only the women), militant, self-righetous, upton sinclair wielding nutcases dancing to their own inner grateful dead soundtrack. or weird purity complex types, but those cases usually go right over the edge and go straight to the raw side. but hey, food is food and can be good, mediocre, bad, even projectile vomit inducing. vegan as well as the other kind. and even though i'm a weak-willed, good-intentioned, non-freaky (really!) mostly vegan i like food. i like food that tastes good. i like food that doesn't have a face and a mother somewhere in meat aisle at safeway. i prefer food that doesn't involve states of perpetual lactation (ouch!) with a trip to same aforementioned safeway aisle once they are are a bit long in the tooth and dried in the teat. being no spring chicken myself i have great sympathy for this inevitable entropy. so sad on so many different levels. especially since i know that things with faces taste good. very good. and who doesn't really, subconsciously, want to return to dairy teat? particulary when it is extruding chocolate ice cream?
and so, back to the subject of this posting, i bring you seitan shawarma...basically a middle eastern burrito. more in the mood for burger and fries? click here.
this shawarma is packed full of good stuff. hot chili sauce, thin slices of marinated seitan, tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, onions and a healthy, oozing dose of a garlicky tahini sauce, wrapped tightly in lavash bread and grilled until crisp and toasty. you can substitute pita bread if you prefer but i think the crispy lavash really makes this dish special. or if seitan isn't your thing, feel free to stick felafel balls in there instead. heck, i'll bet it would probably be good with grilled marinated strips of bessie's left hindquarter, if one were so inclined. but whatever else you do, don't omit the red chili sauce or skimp on the tahini dressing.
you can make your own seitan easily and cheaply if you have a bread machine and a slow cooker, or you can use storebought. tahini and lavash bread can be bought in most stores that stock middle eastern foods. for the red chili paste i use the ubiquitous sriracha, found in friendly chain grocery stores everywhere.
the fixins' from left: tahini-garlic sauce, chili paste, chopped salad, pickled red onions
just look at how juicy and succulent!
1 lb. sliced seitan
lavash bread (or pita bread)
cucumber, peeled and diced
sliced onions, raw or pickled
hot sauce, sriracha or any red chili paste
1/2 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch each/ cardamon and allspice
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper
1 clove garlic
salt to taste
1. prepare seitan marinade ingredients. thinly slice seitan and marinade for about an hour.
2. chop cucumbers and tomatoes, mince parsley and toss together. set aside.
3. place all ingredients for tahini sauce in a food processor or blender. the ratio of water to tahini should be about 1 to 1. blend all ingredients until smooth, adding lemon juice and salt to taste. if the sauce does not pour freely add more water. it should be quite runny.
4. lightly oil a hot non stick frying pan and add seitan. allow to brown slightly. remove from heat.
5. cut lavash into thirds (one third for each shawarma). in a hot skillet slightly warm one slab of lavash for just a few seconds to soften it up.
6. to assemble. lay lavash on a flat surface and layer ingredients like you would for a burrito. depending on the width of your bread it may help to center the filling 1/3 of the way from one edge. spread a thin layer of hot sauce, then layer seitan, tomato and cucumber mix, onion and drizzle tahini sauce. roll up like a burrito (don't forget to tuck one end in so the contents don't fall out when you pick it up!) and place in a hot skillet seam side down for a minute or so, rolling it around until all sides are lightly browned. this helps the seam hold together and lends a delicious crunch to your bread.