If you are not a veggo, it is very likely that you have never eaten, or ever heard of tempeh. Even growing up vegetarian, I think it was pretty rare that we would eat it, but I’m sure we did at some stage.
Though it sounds kind of exotic, tempeh is actually just fermented soy beans, like an Indonesian version of tofu. Not appetising yet? Well that is where marinating comes in. I find that most people who hate tofu think it to be rubbery and tasteless, and that it is, until it is smothered in garlic, chilli, ginger and soy sauce (and any variation on this that you may fancy).
It is after this marinating that tofu (or tempeh) changes from tasteless to tasty! But I have to agree that the texture takes a bit of getting used to. In saying that, this has become one of the most highly requested meals by the vegetarian convert Kris, though I suspect it has a lot to do with the sweet potato mash that goes along with it.
I am trying to improve on ‘recipe formulation’ and actually pay attention to what goes into a meal rather than just throwing everything together if i am making something up or adapting a recipe, but still I apologise that there aren’t any measurements. The idea for this dish came from the Whole Foods recipe app on my iphone, which I love so much – fantastic for vegetarian food and any other dietary requirements.
- 1 packet of Tempeh
- Soy sauce
- 2 cloves garlic
- Chilli (to taste)
- Juice of one lime
- 1 medium sweet potato
- 1/4 medium butternut pumpkin
- butter, milk and salt and pepper (to taste)
- ~1 large mushroom per person
- 1 small red onion, sliced
First, I started marinating the tempeh. A couple hours of marinating would be ideal, but in reality mine was marinated for about half an hour. Cut the tempeh into the desired size slices and put in a shallow bowl or dish, top with soy sauce, lime juice, a couple cloves of crushed garlic and grated ginger, adding chilli to taste. I try to give it a stir/turn every so often to make sure the entire pieces are exposed to the sauce.
While this was marinating I made the sweet potato and pumpkin mash. Though I prefer to leave potato skins on for nutritional value, mash is the occasion that I will remove all skins, just to make sure that the final result is smooth. This time I used one large sweet potato and half a butternut pumpkin, but you could also add regular potatoes as well.
The potatoes and pumpkin were peeled and cubed and par-boiled in salted water until tender. During this time, continue on the mushrooms/onions and tempeh. The cooking water was drained off and added a little butter and milk, salt and pepper, then mashed until the consistency is smooth. If you have a stick blender, using that can make life so much easier and give you a really good result (and in that case you can usually leave the skins on the potatoes).
The sliced mushrooms and red onion were sauteed until soft and browned.
As I prefer the tempeh hot, and it cooks very quickly, I wait until most of the other components are finished before pan-frying the marinated pieces of tempeh, just until browned on each side. I usually pour the marinating mixture on top while it is cooking to add extra flavour.
Assemble and serve with a green salad or steamed veggies.
If you were wondering what tempeh looks like…
I just buy it from the refrigerated section in the supermarket (next to the tofu)
Photos from: my camera
Recipe adapted from: Whole Foods