Tempeh is a fermented soy product that has been eaten in Indonesia for hundreds of years. It has a slightly chewy texture and takes up the flavour of anything it is cooked with. This is one reason why a marinade works so well (it also adds moisture) and I try and make the dish ready in the morning if I get time. It is a great source of protein and is very versatile although I found it doesn’t quite work with Mediterranean flavours.
Tempeh only just seems to be catching on in the UK and I only started to hear about it when buying American vegan cookbooks. It is now becoming more and more available – even my local health food shop is carrying it now (Seaford Health Food – great shop for a town of just 25 thousand people).
For anyone who doesn’t yet have Bryant Terry’s cookbooks I would urge you to pick them up. He combines some incredible recipes with notes on food and culture, activism and politics. I also like the fact that in The Inspired Vegan he organised the recipes as a collection of meals including side dishes and drinks.
As I said this is my version of his dish – largely because it reflects what I had in the fridge this morning.
Jerk Tempeh with Coconut Quinoa
- 200g Tempeh
- 1 small red onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 red chilli
- 1 thumb sized piece of ginger – grated
- Juice of one lime
- 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme
- lots of black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 1 cup quinoa
- half can light coconut milk
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 tbsp dried coconut
- Green vegetables to serve (Bryant Terry has a huge range of ideas in his ‘Soul Kitchen’ book)
Slice the tempeh into 1 cm thick fingers and place in oven dish
Heat a little oil in a small pan and fry the onion, garlic, chilli and ginger for a few minutes. Add other ingredients slowly to allow flavour to develop. Add water last and allow to simmer for a few more minutes.
Put sauce into a small blender and pulse until well blended (a few small pieces are lovely)
Let it cool down and then pour over tempeh, cover in foil and set aside.
When ready to cook heat the oven to 180 degrees (350 Fahrenheit?) and bake covered for one hour, then remove the cover and give it another 10 minutes or so.
The coconut quinoa could not be easier. Simply simmer the quinoa and dried coconut in the liquid for 20 minutes. Take off the heat but leave covered for a further 5 minutes and then fluff up with a fork. This is also a great side for spicy curries (although I wouldn’t bother to combine it with ones already cooked in coconut sauce).
Serve with some green vegetables and a smile.
So – how do you like your Tempeh?