Saturday, March 5, 2011

Coconut Curry Tempeh

This dish is exotic and rich. You wont believe you just ate such a complex and hearty meal that was actually. . . .  .VEGAN! If you are scratching your head and saying "What is tempeh?" here is your answer. Tempeh is a vegan protein composed mainly from compressed soybeans. I used Trader Joe's Organic 3 Grain Tempeh, which is made from soybeans, rice, barley, and millet. It is rich in texture, and high in protein, iron, calcium, and vitamin B12. If you can't find tempeh, you could easily substitute Firm Tofu in this recipe.
One of the things I really love about this dish is that you cook it all at the same time, in the same pan. There is very little timing things carefully to finish at certain times. Also, you can combine everything in a bowl ahead of time and put it in the fridge until you are ready to cook it. Perfect if you are making this for company and want to prep everything ahead of time. Once it is cooking you can kind of walk away from it too, just stir occasionally and add splashes of water every 10 minutes. How easy is that?

Coconut Curry Tempeh

What you will need:

14oz Coconut Milk (2 cups)
1/3 cup Rice Vinegar
2 Tbs Yellow Curry Powder
2 Tbs Hoisin (can sub. Soy Sauce and Sugar)
2 Tbs Fresh Ginger, minced
1 Tbs Fresh Garlic, minced
1 Tbs Palm Sugar (can sub. w/ Brown Sugar)
2 tsp Chili Garlic Sauce (or Sriracha)
1 tsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Sesame Oil (optional)
Dash Cumin (optional)
1 Package Tempeh (or Tofu)
1/2 cup Shiitake Mushrooms
1 Red Bell Pepper
1/3 cup Golden Pearl Onions
Lime, sliced as garnish
Cilantro, chopped as garnish
Brown Rice

If you are using dried shiitake mushrooms like I am, we need to get them soaking (if using fresh you can wait). Take a handful of mushrooms, about 1/2 a cup, and place them in a bowl. Fill the bowl with warm water and set aside. We want them to be able to soak for at least 20 minutes while we get the rest ready.

Now for the amazing saucy part. You can work in a bowl, big mixing cup, or even right in the large wok or skillet you will be cooking in. Combine the coconut milk, rive vinegar, curry powder, hoisin, ginger, garlic, sugar, chili sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, and cumin. Fresh garlic and ginger make a big difference, use if possible. Ginger is a lot easier to work with than it looks; just slice off the skin, and mince, it will cook up nice and soft. Stir it all up and taste it. Does it need anything? Don't be afraid to alter the recipe, it's your taste buds not mine!

Tempeh needs to be cut fairly thin. Cut into strips, then turn them on their sides and slice through the middle to make thinner slices. It should be about 1"x1"x1/3" pieces.  If using tofu, make sure you press it first and then cut into similar sized pieces. Once cut, add it to the curry mixture.
Wash and dry the red bell pepper. Core and remove the seeds. Then cut into roughly inch sized pieces. Add to curry.
The golden pearl onions are one of my latest fascinations. If you were able to find them, you are in for a real treat! They are sweet and delicious with amazing pops of texture. If you can't find them, use any small onion or a chopped yellow onion. Peel the onions and add to the curry. Don't chop the pearl onions, you will love them whole, I promise!
Drain the shiitake mushrooms. Squeeze them gently in a paper towel, and then add to the curry. If using fresh mushrooms, slice them thinly and add to the curry.
Now that everything is ready, put it all in a large wok or skillet and turn to medium-low heat. It will need to cook for about 40 minutes. If you are using tofu it might not take as long. Stir occasionally and monitor the temperature to keep it at a simmer. After a while it will start to look thick. Add about 1/4 cup of water every 10 minutes to keep it from drying out.
While this is cooking, start some rice. I made 2 cups of brown rice in a rice cooker and it was plenty for the amount of curry.
Spoon rice into a bowl and top with a heaping scoop of curry. Garnish with fresh lime and cilantro.

No comments:

Post a Comment