Buddha’s Sesame Seitan

Sesame Seitan

If I’ve said it once, I’ve probably said it 5 times on this blog. A Single Pebble in Burlington, Vermont is my favorite restaurant. Considering the fact that we live about 13 hours away, it’s a really big thing for me to get there once a year. Last year, we made it a few times…and every time I got the same dish: sesame “beef” made with seitan. I’ve tried to copy it a few times with different parts working but never the whole thing. But this time, I’m pretty happy with how it came out! The only thing that is really missing is the deep fried crunch to the seitan that I can’t seem to get at home. The sauce, however, is pretty right on. This is the closest I think I’ll ever get to making a homemade version. It’s not the exact same, but it’s sooo good! At least it hits the spot until our next trip to Vermont. (9 months and 23 days away, but who’s counting?)

The vegetables have just the right crunch, the sauce has a a hint of sweetness under the heat and really makes the dish. I know, there are a ton of ingredients in the sauce, but you can tinker with it however you want. Part of what makes it work for me is that it’s not just one element for heat, but a couple of them to play off each other. Same with the sweetness, with the mirin and sherry. The sauce has a really good bottom note. But tinker with it. Add more of what you like and less of what doesn’t do it for you. Just so you keep a good balance of spicy/sweet/salty and it will be awesome! Oh, and about the vegatables? Sometimes they use carrots. Other times they use more bok choy. Whatever works for you!

Buddha’s Sesame Seitan
8 oz seitan, cut in thin bite size chunks
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp cornstarch, divided use
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp rice flour (you can use all AP if you prefer)
oil for frying the seitan chunks
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp mirin
2 tsp molasses
2 tsp sriachi
1 Tbsp sherry
1 tsp chili oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup broth
1 cup broccoli florets, steamed
1/2 cup carrots, cut in 1 inch pieces and steamed
1 cup onions, large dice
1/2 cup red pepper, large dice
1 Tbsp sesame seeds

Make a slurry with the cornstarch/soy milk. Combine the flours in a shallow dish. Heat about 1/2 inch oil in a wok or frying pan. Toss the seitain pieces in the slurry, then in the flour and fry until browned and crisp-ish. Remove from wok and place on a brown bag to drain a little. Set aside.

Dump the remaining oil out of the wok. Don’t wipe it completely dry but get most of the oil out. Leave just enough for the vegetables.

Combine all sauce ingredients from the soy sauce to the salt and set aside.

Combine 1/2 cup broth with remaining 1 Tbsp cornstarch. Set aside.

With the wok hot, add the onions and red pepper. Cook on really hot heat until just barely cooked. You want to keep the crunch. Add the broccoli and carrots, sesame seeds and seitan, heating throughout. Add the sauce and stir for a couple of minutes, then add the broth/cornstarch, stirring until thickened. Serve with rice.

Here’s the restaurant version from our last trip.

Buddha’s Sesame “Beef” – A Single Pebble

And here is the Ma Po Tofu, if that’s more your thing. My take on their recipe is here.

Ma Po Tofu – A Single Pebble

Tonight’s dinner: not Asian. Damnit.

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  1. Posted December 11, 2008 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    That seitan looks soooo scrumptious!!!

  2. Posted December 12, 2008 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    Looks like you made a great replication! (if that’s a word)

  3. Posted December 12, 2008 at 4:55 am | Permalink

    I need to go behind enemy lines and get the scoop on what’s in this stuff. I always order the Buddha Beef too.

  4. Posted December 12, 2008 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Mmmm that seitan looks awesomely good. I just know I’m going to have to be making some of that and soon!

  5. Posted December 12, 2008 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    We only make it to VT about once every two years but NOW i’m dying to go and try this place!!!

  6. Posted December 13, 2008 at 12:32 am | Permalink

    Oh wow, sounds delicious!

  7. Posted December 13, 2008 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    Bex, do it! I overheard them talking and they had to modify their burners to be insanely hot. I’d love to know all the details.

    EL, if you get a chance, definitely hit this place.

    Thanks, everyone…hope you guys like it if you try it!

  8. Posted December 14, 2008 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Your seitan looks fantastic!

  9. Posted December 17, 2008 at 3:45 am | Permalink

    Yum…and I love Burlington’s vegan food too!

  10. Posted January 2, 2009 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    OOOOOO! you recreated Single Pebble’s food I am so excited to try your recipe! yumyumyummmmmmmmmm

  11. Posted February 2, 2009 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    I am SO glad I tried your recipe. I will never buy chinese food take out again- this recipe is simply amazing. I did the lazy thing with it and just stir-fried veggies with the sauce and it was AMAZING. Not unlike the “Buddha’s Feast” dish at P.F. Changs. Very spicy, so next time I know to do the hot chili ingredients to taste! Thank you!!

  12. Posted February 2, 2009 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    I’m so glad you liked it! I love hearing that…..and yes, spicy foods need to always be ‘to taste’.

    Thanks a lot for your comment. :)

  13. Posted January 26, 2011 at 2:09 am | Permalink

    I was craving Buddha’s Beef with a vengeance tonight. I live two blocks from “A Single Pebble,” and their Buddha’s Beef haunts me from time to time. Tonight I decided to try to replicate it – and, after a tentative google search, lo and behold – you have done that for me! Thank you so much – it was excellent! Come back to Burlington soon!

  14. Posted January 26, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Joanna, that’s the highest compliment you could give me. Thank you!

  15. Posted June 25, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    we just had this and it was REALLY yummy. Both kids enjoyed. I would skip the salt next time as it really didnt need it. I used courgettes instead of peppers, and added the garlic just before the sauce so i didnt have to chop it so fine. Was lovely with brown basmati rice. Thanks!

  16. Tami
    Posted June 25, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Wohoo! So great to hear, and salt it definitely a personal thing. Glad you’re talking a next time! Thanks for letting me know you liked it.

  17. Brittany
    Posted December 10, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    As a Burlington native, I love Single Pebble’s Buddha Beef! I’ve been trying to eat more at home, and was so excited to find this! It’s so delish, this will definitely be a regular meal at my hose. Next time I’ll skip the salt, as the soy added more than enough salt for the dish. I also added red pepper flakes (we love hot food), and it was GREAT! Just as good as leftovers for lunch the next day. Thank you!!!!

  18. Tami
    Posted December 10, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Hi Brittany! Thanks for your kind words. We love Single Pebble, too. :) Very cool that you posted. Thank you!

  19. Shan
    Posted June 16, 2015 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    I’m eating Buddha Beef right now and just vowed to figure out how to make it at home. Thank you for figuring this out, I can’t wait to try it!!! It feels particularly serendipitous that you posted one of my favorite dishes from one of my favorite restaurants, on my birthday :)

  20. Tami
    Posted June 17, 2015 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    how awesome! happy birthday! let me know what you think if you give my version a go!

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