2021-01-30 06:00:00 | Sweet chilli ‘shawarma’ burger recipe


Story by: Ching-He Huang The Telegraph

This is a fusion mix of two of my favourite cuisines – Lebanese and American-Chinese. My best friend of 30 years, Lina, used to invite me to her house every Saturday night for a Lebanese dinner. When we wanted a plant-based option, we made a shawarma-spiced seitan. Seitan originates from ancient China and is a firm-textured meat substitute made from wheat gluten. You can buy it in blocks or pieces, or use tofu. For best results, slice and chill the slaw ingredients so that, when you come to serve, the slaw is nice and cold.

Prep time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 5 minutes




  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2.5cm piece of fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 tbsp Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 vegan brioche buns or seeded wholemeal buns
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp sriracha

For the shawarma-spiced seitan

  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground all spice
  • ¼ tsp garlic or onion powder, or vegetable bouillon powder
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cardamom
  • 2 pinches of dried chilli flakes
  • Pinch of dried oregano
  • Pinch of cracked sea salt
  • 330g seitan pieces (available online at Asda, Morrisons and Ocado), or use tofu, drained and sliced

For the sesame slaw

  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp maple or agave syrup
  • 2 tbsp tamari or low-sodium light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp brown rice vinegar
  • 2 carrots, sliced into fine julienne strips
  • 100g red cabbage, sliced into fine julienne strips
  • 100g white cabbage, sliced into fine julienne strips
  • ½ red onion, sliced into fine julienne strips
  • 1 spring onion, trimmed and finely chopped
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • 1 small handful of chives, chopped
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  1. Begin by making the slaw. Mix together the tahini, maple or agave syrup, tamari or light soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and brown rice vinegar in a jar. Shake to combine.
  2. In a large salad bowl, combine the carrots, red and white cabbage, red onion and spring onion. Pour over the dressing. Squeeze over some lime juice and garnish with chives. Then, set aside.
  3. Now, prepare the shawarma-spiced seitan. In a small bowl, mix together the spices. Lay the seitan pieces out on a plate and evenly sprinkle the spice mix over them. Set aside until needed.
  4. Heat a wok over a high heat until smoking. Add the rapeseed oil and give the wok a swirl. Once hot, add the garlic and ginger and toss for a few seconds. Add the seitan pieces and cook, stirring, for 20 seconds. Stir in the dark soy and sweet chilli sauces, and deglaze with the rice wine or sherry. Mix well and transfer the contents of the wok to a heatproof plate.
  5. Slice the buns in half and place them cut-side down on the wok for 20 seconds to toast. Remove from the wok and slather a layer of hoisin sauce on the insides of each bun.
  6. In a small bowl, mix together the vegan mayo and sriracha.
  7. Spoon some sticky shawarma pieces on to the base of a bun. Top with some slaw, then add another layer of shawarma, and top with more slaw. Drizzle over some sriracha mayo and top with the other half of the bun. Repeat for the other burger and serve.
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Recipe from Asian Green by Ching-He Huang (Kyle Books, £20). Order a copy from books.telegraph.co.uk.


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Source References: The Telegraph

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