Learn how to make vegan shrimp from scratch with seitan and rice papers! These vegan prawns are stir fried and then coated in a sweet and spicy Japanese chili sauce.
After my vegan 'seafood week' series a few months ago, I've gotten several requests for more plant based seafood recipes. One I've been really wanting to tackle is shrimp! I used to love shrimp dishes like shrimp tempura, ebi katsu (shrimp katsu), shrimp avocado bagels and my absolute favourite: ebi chili!
What is Ebi Chili?
Ebi Chili is a spicy shrimp stir fry dish that is very popular in Japan with origins from Chinese Sichuan cuisine. What differs between the Chinese and Japanese version is the sweetness of the sauce. It has been adjusted to suite Japanese taste buds which tend to be on the mild side. This is why you don't see a lot of spicy food in Japanese cuisine.
This dish is not only enjoyed at Chinese restaurants but also commonly prepared at home for bentos and dinners because of how quick and easy it is to make! They even sell pouches of the ready made sauce that my mom often brought back home. She would make this on weeknights and was one of favourite dinners especially alongside a fresh bowl of steamy rice. I loved it so much I decided to on ebi chili over the other shrimp dishes.
Vegan Shrimp Inspiration
When coming up with a vegan shrimp recipe there were a few things I had to consider. Unlike meats, shrimp has a plump, almost firm texture with a slight bouncy tender bite to them. The texture of both seitan and mochi came to mind so you'll see in the ingredients that I actually used glutinous rice flour in combination with vital wheat gluten to achieve that similar texture.
When it came to the outside and shape of the shrimp I tinkered with the idea the skin used for har gow (shrimp dumplings) made from wheat starch because of it's clear appearance and yuba sheets often used for vegetarian 'shrimps' at restaurants where they stuff it with various vegetables. I tried both and much preferred the appearance using the har gow skin.
During my second round of testing the seitan, I made Vietnamese rice paper rolls and stuffed them with the seitan. You know what looks very similar to har gow skin? Rice paper! Using rice paper cuts down the preparation of the recipe, was much easier to work with and I found looked a lot nicer.
I did a bit of search after to see if this techqniue was done and came across the How to Cook CHANNEL that has a very similar Shrimp recipe. With hers, I noticed she used carrots to achieve a bit of that colour so borrowed that idea of using carrots as well. I also liked that it did add a bit of sweetness to the overall shrimp!
How to Make Vegan Shrimp
Making the vegan shrimps does take a bit of time because we are making the seitan from scratch but the overall process is easy and most of the cooking time is hands off. Here's a run down of what you'll need and how to make seitan shrimp:
- Vital wheat gluten: the base of the seitan
- Glutinous rice flour: for textural purposes, you can also use chickpea flour or a combination of both like I Konjac: adds texture and a mild sea-like flavour
- Carrots: for a little bit of sweetness and apperance
- Tofu: for texture
- Miso paste: for flavour
- Kombu dashi granules: added sea-like flavour
- Rice paper sheets (or yuba): for the outer skin and forming the 'shrimps'
- Prepare seitan: Add the grated carrots, konjac, miso paste and tofu to a bowl. Mix it together with your hands while mashing the tofu. Add the vital wheat gluten, glutinous rice flour and/or chickpea flour, kombu dashi granules, salt and black pepper. Mix with your hands until well combined and the dough comes together. You may need to add in 1-2 teaspoon of water. The dough should be moist enough to hold together but not too wet or sticky.
- Rest seitan: Place the dough onto your work surface and knead for 5-8 minutes. Place the dough in a bowl, cover and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- Cook the seitan: Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the kombu dashi granules. Flatten the dough to about ½ inch in thickness. Reduce to medium heat and then drop the seitan in. Cover and cook for about 40-45 minutes. Remove the seitan from the pot with tongs. Allow for it to cool. Cut the seitan into 10 roughly even sized pieces.
- Wrap the 'shrimps'
- Rice paper options (preferred): dip the rice paper in warm warer for 5 seconds and then place on your work surface. Add a piece of seitan towards the bottom and roll upward until it reaches the end. Fold the 'shrimp' and insert a skewer to hold its shape. Repeat for remaining seitan.
- Yuba option: soak them in hot water for 10 minutes. If using frozen, defrost. If using fresh, rinse them well. If using rice paper, submerge in warm water for about 1-2 minutes until soft.
- Give it colour: Mix together the olive oil and paprika. Brush on both sides of the 'shrimps'. Let them rest while gathering the ingredients for the chili sauce.
Japanese Chili Sauce
One the shrimps are done, it's time to make the chili sauce! The Japanese chili sauce is much more mild because like I mentioned above, Japanese people can't handle much spice.
To make the Japanese chili sauce, all thats required is to stir fry the aromatics, add the sauces and seasonings in and thicken it up with a bit of potato starch slurry. If you don't have potato starch, you can substitute with corn starch.
More Vegan Seafood Recipes to Try
- Eggplant Unagi Donburi (Unadon) Grilled 'Eel' Rice Bowl
- 'Salmon' Teriyaki
- Spicy Squid Stir Fry
- Kaki Fry (Fried 'Oyster' Mushrooms)
- Vegan Oyster Sauce
SAVE IT FOR LATER! ↓
If you recreate this Vegan Shrimp Ebi Chili recipe let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment and rating below or by tagging me on Instagram @Okonomikitchen, I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!
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Vegan Chili Shrimp Stir Fry (Ebi Chili)
- Total Time: 90 minutes
- Yield: 2 servings 1x
Learn how to make vegan 'shrimp' from scratch with seitan and rice papers! These vegan prawns stir fried and then coated in a sweet and spicy Japanese chili sauce.
For the shrimp (10)
- ⅓ + 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten (45g)
- 1 tbsp glutinous rice flour OR chickpea flour (15g // I used a combination of both )
- 30g konjac, shredded
- 30g carrots, grated
- 20g traditional / medium firm tofu
- 2 tsp miso paste (8g)
- 1 ½ + 2 teaspoon tsp kombu dashi granules, divided (4g)
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper, optional
- 2 tsp kombu dashi granules
- 2 tbsp olive oil (30ml)
- 1 ½ tsp paprika (6g)
- 10 pieces small size rice paper (or yuba sheets)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced (8g)
- 1 tbsp ginger, minced (12g)
- 2 ½ tbsp ketchup (37g)
- 1-2 teaspoon Doubanjian (5g)
- ½ tbsp sake (7ml)
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅓ + 1 ½ tablespoon water (100ml)
- 1 tsp mushroom stock powder (7g)
- ½ tbsp sugar (6g)
- ⅛ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp rice vinegar (5g // or apple cider vinegar)
- 1 green onion, finely sliced (12g)
- 1 tsp potato starch (3g) + 1 tbsp water (15ml), mixed together
- 1 tsp sesame oil (5ml)
- Into a bowl add the grated carrots, konjac, miso paste and tofu. Mix together with your hands while mashing the tofu between your fingers. Add the vital wheat gluten, glutinous rice flour and/or chickpea flour, kombu dashi granules, salt and black pepper. Mix with your hands until well combined and the dough comes together. You may need to add in 1-2 teaspoon of water. The dough should be moist enough to hold together but not too wet or sticky.
- Place the dough onto your work surface and knead for 5-8 minutes. Place the dough in a bowl, cover and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the kombu dashi granules. Flatten the dough to about ½ inch in thickness. Reduce heat to medium and then add the seitan dough in. Cover and cook for about 40-45 minutes.
- Remove the seitan from the pot with tongs. Allow for it to cool. Cut the seitan into 10 roughly even sized pieces.
- If using dry yuba, soak them in hot water for 10 minutes. If using frozen, defrost. If using fresh, rinse them well. If using rice paper, submerge in warm water for about 1-2 minutes until soft.
- Place the yuba or rice paper onto your work surface. Add one piece of the seitan towards the bottom and roll upward until it reaches the end. Fold the 'shrimp' and insert a skewer to hold its shape. Repeat for remaining seitan pieces.
- Mix together the olive oil and paprika. Brush on both sides of the 'shrimps'. Let them rest while gathering the ingredients for the chili sauce.
To cook the 'shrimp':
- Heat a pan over medium and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook each side for about 1 minute or until very light golden brown on the outside. Transfer to a plate.
For the chili sauce:
- Over medium low heat, add 1 teaspoon of oil and cook the garlic and ginger. Reduce heat to low. Add in the ketchup, chili bean paste, sake and salt. Then add the water, mushroom stock powder, sugar, vinegar, pepper and green onions. Continue to simmer for about 1 minute.
- Turn off the heat, give the slurry a mix and then add it to the pan while stirring the sauce. Drizzle in sesame oil.
- Add the cooked ‘shrimps’ to the pan and coat with the sauce. Serve with green parts of scallions and enjoy!
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 60 minutes
- Category: entree
- Method: stove top
- Cuisine: vegan, japanese
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 591
- Sugar: 8.8g
- Sodium: 1155mg
- Fat: 17.3g
- Saturated Fat: 2.4g
- Unsaturated Fat: 13g
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 85g
- Fiber: 3g
- Protein: 23.8g
- Cholesterol: 0
Keywords: vegan shrimps
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OMG,it was really good ;))
honestly i was very worried before trying it but the delicious taste surprised me and made me so happy.
It was different but perfect 😍
Impatiently waiting to try it again^^
thank you very much Lisa your ideas are wonderful🤍
give it a try:>
I can't find fresh konjack. I do have it in powder form. How much powder would I use. Thanks
Lisa Kitahara says
I would omit it completely! Its just for texture 🙂
MUST TRY RECIPE!! Definitely become vegan for a day🤣 the sauce is amazing thou, I didnt expect that to be honest 🙂 it really surprise me as a non-vegan person
Paige Davis says
Wow!!! Had to leave a review today 🙂
I tried this recipe last night to surprise my boyfriend, who has missed shrimp since going plant based a year ago. I had everything but the konjack, so I just omitted that as Lisa suggested. The sauce is really flavorful and delicious. I used the full amount of heat as we like spice and it was perfect. My shrimp weren’t quite as pretty as Lisa’s yet, but I will keep practicing. I might make them a wee bit shorter next time. The texture of the seitan/tofu had a nice chewy bite, and filled in quite nicely for the animal version. I have been vegan 8 years, and prefer the texture of these, for sure! Im so happy for this recipe! It’s much needed in plant based cuisine today. This is my first experience trying one of Lisa’s recipes; rest assured that I’ll be trying more! Love this blog.
A really easy recipe to follow and makes a very chewy “prawn”! I made these for my omni-boyfriend and he said they’re pretty good ~ we made a paella but will be interested to try with the chilli sauce!
WOOW . I saw a reel on instagram, I thought I could never have a similar result, but I had and I even enjoyed making it. And when I taste it, oooh just AMAZING.
This is a MUST TRY 👊🏼👊🏼