I have three new recipes for you today! Jackpot!
When I first saw a block of tempeh sitting next to tofu at an Asian grocer, I was put off by the way it looked. I vaguely see that there were some soybeans in the block, but the whole thing looked slightly rotten to me. (click here if you don’t know what tempeh looks like). I’ve never given a second thought about buying it until I started reading 101cookbooks.com. This wonderful blog was the first food blog that I started reading regularly and still do until this day. Tempeh showed up once in a while in her post and after a casual googling, I realized this block of off-looking soybeans was in fact a delicious food originating from Indonesia, and has spread to the western world as a healthy meat substitute. It’s fermented and therefore easier for your body to digest. It’s also full of vitamin B-6, iron, magnesium, and calcium. So after trying this recipe from 101cookbooks, I was hooked. It’s meatier than tofu, and really delicious after being marinated and grilled. I know many people frown upon hearing the word “tofu” but this distant cousin, tempeh, my friends, is a whole different business.
After vaguely trying to plan a holiday to south-east Asia, I have created a marinade for tempeh that includes ingredients from there, and the result was absolutely delicious. Lightly coconut-y, spicy, and the addition of lemongrass and lime leaf made me want to teleport myself to the street food stalls in south-east Asia, although I imagine the food there would be a zillion times better than mine. :) I paired the tempeh with coleslaw with peanut dressing that was inspired by the Gado-gado sauce from Indonesia, and coconut brown rice cooked with galangal and lime leaf. If you have never cooked with tempeh, give this a try. I swear you will be hooked like I did.
Lemongrass and Coconut Tempeh
250g tempeh, cut into triangles
1 lemongrass, 5cm from the root, the outer layer peeled, and the soft center part finely minced
1 lime leaf, finely minced
60ml coconut milk from a very well shaken can
1.5 tsp sambal olek or sriracha
1 Tbsp soy sauce
Juice of 1/2 lime
To fry, coconut oil or vegetable oil with high-smoking point.
To serve, a small handful coriander leaves
1. In a medium sized saucepan, bring water to boil. Add the tempeh and steam over medium heat for about 5 mins. This process eliminates the bitterness that might be present in some tempeh, and also it will make the tempeh absorb the marinade faster.
2. In a blender, add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Drain the tempeh and transfer them to a large but shallow casserole dish. Pour the marinade over and coat well. Marinate for 1 hour. It can sit in the fridge for a couple more hours if you want to make ahead of time. Flip once or twice.
3. Heat the coconut oil or vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Lay the tempeh slices in one layer and fry for about 4 mins. Flip and wait for 3 minutes. Pour the remaining marinade and reduce to a thick sauce.
Coleslaw with peanut-chili-coconut dressing
Serves 4-6 as a side
1/2 head small green cabbage, finely sliced
1/2 head small purple cabbage, finely sliced
3 spring onions, white and green parts, finely sliced
1 large carrot, julienned
1/2 large kohlrabi, julienned
1 bunch coriander, chopped
A small handful mint leaves, chopped
A handful roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
For the dressing,
2 Tbsp peanut butter
1.5 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbs coconut milk
1 thumbnail sized ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 small cloves garlic
1.5 tsp sambal olek or sriracha
1 lime, juice only
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp palm sugar or raw cane sugar
1. In a large bowl, mix the chopped and sliced vegetables.
2. To make the dressing, add all the ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. Check the seasoning. The dressing at this stage should be a little salty. Not to worry, the vegetables will absorb some of the salt.
3. Toss the dressing and the vegetables thoroughly, preferably with hands. Leave to rest for 30mins to 1 hour. Scatter the peanuts on the salad before serving.
Coconut Brown Rice with Lime Leaf and Galangal
1 cup short-grain brown rice
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup water
2 lime leaves
A thumb-nail sized galangal or ginger, sliced
1/2 tsp salt
To serve: Lime wedges
1. Wash the brown rice and soak, if possible, for 4-8 hours.
2. In a medium sized sauce pan, bring the rice and the rest of the ingredients to the boil and turn the heat down to low. Steam the rice for 35-45 mins, until tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff the rice with fork.