Tempeh is Great and You Should Try It

October 27, 2012 § 3 Comments


I have the makings of a cold.

When I was a teenager, a bit of a cold was a pretty good thing. I could stay home, drink endless cups of tea and re-read The Lord of the Rings (have I said too much?).

But now as an adult (give or take), getting sick is the worst. You can’t do any of the fun things, and when you don’t go to work, the work just piles up. I have stuff to do now.

So I’m going to get my wellness on and drink all the carrot and ginger juices and water and lemon and honey and ALSO, smash some broccoli. And why not broccoli and tempeh?

But now I’ve told you my sickness story, I don’t have room to tell you about tempeh. Can you just trust me on this one? It’s a fermented soy bean product from Indonesia, it’s high in protein, cheap, and when cooked as below, deliciously chewy and sweet and nutty. This recipe is gently adapted from Nourish Me, a very good blog I only just discovered.

Serves 4.

Ingredients:
1 250 gram block of frozen tempeh
vegetable or peanut oil
2 teaspoons tamarind paste
1 tablespoon kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup of warm water
1-2 birds eye chilis, sliced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
roasted peanuts, chopped (if you have them) to serve
2 spring onions, sliced, to serve

[If you’re having the tempeh with rice, put it on 10 minutes before you start cooking. It’s also sensible to put on some water for steaming the broccoli just before you start.]

Defrost your tempeh as per instructions on packaging, mine said to put in the microwave for 60 seconds.

You’ll then have a block of firm but slightly spongy tempeh, which you can easily slice up into thin strips, of just under half a centimetre.

Put a few tablespoons of oil (pretty much anything you have except olive oil) in a wok and put over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot put your tempeh in, it should sizzle a bit, so try out with one slice before you do the rest. Fry it in a few batches so that the wok isn’t over-full. Remove the tempeh once it’s lightly golden and put aside on some paper towel.

While it’s frying, mix the tamarind paste, kecap manis, sugar and water in a small jug. Thinly slice your garlic and chili.

[Put your broccoli on to steam about now]

Once all the tempeh is cooked, pour most of the oil out of the wok, leaving it shiny with oil but no excess. Put it back over medium-high heat and return all the tempeh to the wok. Pour over the liquid, and if it doesn’t bubble, turn the heat up a little. Add the garlic and chili to the wok, and a minute later the sesame seeds. Cook this until the glaze has just about bubbled away, the tempeh is darkly golden and caramelised.

This is ready to serve with your rice, vegetables and topped with peanuts and spring onions. But what I really want to do is serve this tempeh as one dish of a few (with rice), like sambal teri kacang.

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