Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian food. It is created by the fermentation of partially cooked soybeans with a Rhizopus mold (sounds gross, I know). These soybeans are then pressed into cakes that are fermented and transformed to create a meat-like texture. Now, this fermentation process is critical in soy products because it makes the soy nutritionally superior and easier to digest than non-fermented soy foods. Yay for mold! If you are not allergic to soy, I recommend eating fermented soy products as a part of your diet. Tempeh is such a versatile product that can be used in many preparations and it really gives that “meaty” texture and mouthfeel to certain dishes. I do recommend simmering or steaming tempeh before using it in any recipe! Why? Because tempeh is so dense and protein-rich that it can be dry, crumbly, and very bland if not cooked properly. If you are new to tempeh, this recipe will introduce you nicely! The warm, slightly sweet southeast Asian flavors in this curry will keep you eating tempeh for sure!
2 cups finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
2 teaspoons tamarind pulp
1 tablespoon grated ginger (I like to use a microplane)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups chopped, peeled sweet potato
1 cup water
1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
8 ounces organic tempeh, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons tamari
Remove tempeh from packaging. Place in a small saucepan and cover with vegetable broth or other flavorful liquid. Simmer the tempeh for about 30 minutes to soften it. Discard the liquid and prepare the tempeh for the curry by cutting into 3/4-inch cubes. For curry, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt and dry sauté for a few minutes or until onion is tender; stirring occasionally. Stir in tamarind; cook 2 minutes, stirring to break up tamarind. Add ginger and next 5 ingredients (through cinnamon); cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, potato, water, milk, and tempeh; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Uncover, stir in juice and tamari. Simmer 3 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Basmati Cilantro Rice
1 1/2 cups uncooked Basmati rice
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
For rice, cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Stir in cilantro and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Serve with the curry.