STICKY GINGER TEMPEH WITH COCONUT RICE

pin it!pin it!pin it!pin it!

I am really fussy about tempeh. I know that it’s good for me and that it’s a superstar source of vegan protein, but sometimes the flavour/texture of it doesn’t sit right. I’m not a picky eater, but there’s something about tempeh that presents a mental block for me. I will pump myself up to eat it, load it up with the flavours that I like, and then I’ll put one morsel in my mouth and immediately feel like spitting it out. What gives!

Every once in a while I hit on the right combination of cooking method and flavour treatment though. This marinated and grilled tempeh is a good example, and also this broccoli caesar with smoky tempeh bits from my cookbook is another application that I enjoy. Both methods turn to deep browning and big flavours for a tasty end result.

Maybe you’re wondering though: what even is tempeh? Tempeh is a fermented “cake” made from cooked soybeans (and sometimes other grains like rice or kamut) that have been inoculated with a fermentation starter. It’s been made and enjoyed in Indonesia for thousands of years. The fermentation process helps to break down the phytic acid in the soybeans and also enables better digestion of the starches. The culturing is also what gives us the solid patty-like texture and signature nutty/earthy flavour. Tempeh can taste mushroom-y and this is likely because the culturing results in a thin film of mycelium (fungus!) that encases the soybeans. And a historical fun fact: It is thought that tempeh-making became an accidental byproduct of tofu making, which was introduced by Chinese immigrants to the island of Java during the 17th century. The more you know :)

Knowing its origins and production process, we can begin to understand why tempeh tastes so good with super punchy and rich flavours like chili, ginger, coconut, lime, and soy sauce, which happens to be the flavour profile we’re going with here in this recipe! ;) We first steam the tempeh to remove any trace of bitterness. Then, it’s crumbled up and lightly browned, and finally finished with a tamari-based treatment with lots of ginger, garlic, a bit of sweetness, and some heat (which is optional). The sauce thickens slightly, clinging to the browned bits of tempeh. I opted to serve this with some coconut rice to make it a bit more special and to play off of the ginger and lime.

Hope you give this a try, especially all of my tempeh skeptics. It’s sticky, salty, spicy, lightly caramelized, and bright. A huge flavour bomb with the most lush coconut rice accompaniment. The tempeh itself comes together pretty quick, which is a nice bonus! Hope you’re all keeping well out there.

pin it!pin it!pin it!pin it!

STICKY GINGER TEMPEH WITH COCONUT RICE RECIPE

Print the recipe here!
SERVES:
3-4
NOTES: This tempeh is also delicious with plain rice, but I wanted to give you the option of taking things to the next level! I would serve this with a simple side of steamed/roasted broccoli or green beans.
-I haven’t tried this recipe with a fluid sweetener like maple syrup or agave nectar. My hunch is that the sauce will not thicken around the tempeh bits as much and you may have to introduce a starch.
-Steaming the tempeh ahead of time is a key step! It helps to reduce that trace of bitterness.

COCONUT RICE:
1 cup full fat coconut milk
1 cup water
1 teaspoon coconut palm sugar
sea salt, to taste
1 cup brown basmati rice, thoroughly rinsed
½ teaspoon lime zest
1 teaspoon lime juice

TEMPEH:
1 8oz block of tempeh, cut into 1 inch slices
¼ cup tamari soy sauce
3 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
1 tablespoon hot sauce of choice, optional (or use less!)
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 tablespoon avocado or other heat-tolerant oil
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Make the coconut rice. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the coconut milk, water, coconut sugar, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring a few times to dissolve the sugar. Add the rinsed brown basmati rice to the saucepan and stir. Bring the coconut rice up to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and then cover the saucepan with a lid. Simmer until almost all of the liquid is absorbed, about 40 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Add the lime zest and juice to the coconut rice and fluff/lightly stir with a fork. Return the lid to the pot and let it sit on the warm stove for 3-4 minutes, or keep warm until ready to serve.

Make the sticky ginger tempeh. Cover the bottom of a medium skillet with water and place it on the stove over medium heat. Once it’s simmering, add your tempeh slices and cover. Steam the tempeh for 10 minutes. Remove the tempeh from the skillet with tongs and place it on a plate to cool. Rinse the skillet and wipe it out. You’ll be using it to finish the tempeh.

In a small bowl, whisk together the tamari, coconut sugar, hot sauce, and lime juice. Set aside.

Pat the steamed tempeh with some a clean kitchen towel to dry. Crumble the tempeh into little pieces.

Return the skillet to the stove over medium-high heat. Pour in the avocado oil and swirl it around. Add the tempeh to the skillet and stir. Sauté the tempeh until the pieces are lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes. Season the tempeh with salt and pepper and stir. Add the ginger and garlic to the skillet and stir until quite fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Pour the tamari mixture into the skillet and stir, scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the skillet with a spatula if necessary. Keep cooking the tempeh until the sauce has caramelized slightly and turned deeper brown, about 6-7 minutes. Check the sticky ginger tempeh for seasoning and then adjust if necessary (more salt, pepper, hot sauce, lime etc).

Serve the sticky ginger tempeh hot with coconut rice and sliced green onions.

pin it!

  • Allison Ehlers27/05/2020 - 10:51 am

    Hi, I am a recent convert to vegetarianism and I LOVE your recipes! I am also not a huge fan of tempeh. DO you think I could use jackfruit instead?
    Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laura27/05/2020 - 4:29 pm

      Hi Allison!
      You could definitely give jackfruit the same treatment here. If you’re using canned or vacuum sealed jackfruit, there’s no need to pre-steam it (like I suggest with the tempeh in this recipe).
      -LReplyCancel

    • Donna-Jane30/05/2020 - 6:48 am

      Hi Laura- what do you recommend as a good source for tempeh please?
      Thanks~DonnaReplyCancel

      • Laura30/05/2020 - 8:43 am

        Thanks for this question! Locally, I’ve only been able to get Lightlife tempeh and sometimes temeph from an Ontario brand called Henry’s Tempeh. When we were able to hop over to the US, I would always grab Smiling Hara’s Hempeh because it is really my favourite. I like the basic “Salt and Pepper Steak” one because it’s the easiest to incorporate into recipes.
        -LReplyCancel

  • Virginia27/05/2020 - 7:07 pm

    Hi this looks awesome! Do you think the recipe would work with granulated stevia?ReplyCancel

    • Laura28/05/2020 - 10:08 am

      Hi Virginia!
      I think it would work, but maybe start with a small amount and adjust to your liking from there. Stevia can be much sweeter than coconut palm sugar and varies in strength from brand to brand. I’d refer to the package of your stevia, see what their recommendations are in terms of swapping for typical sugar, and then go from there. Hope this is helpful!
      -LReplyCancel

  • Kim H27/05/2020 - 8:03 pm

    This was SO delicious. I prepared the recipe as stated (I even steamed the tempeh, which I never do but I trust Laura completely). At the end, I added a squeeze of lime juice. Served with broccoli that I roasted in the gas grill (broccoli + evoo + s +p on sheet pan on 400 degree grill). What a great meal! My husband is new to plants – he went back for seconds.
    Thank you, Laura!ReplyCancel

  • Grace30/05/2020 - 3:03 pm

    This was so so delicious!!! And really easy to make – thank you for sharing xxReplyCancel

  • Emily30/05/2020 - 8:17 pm

    Thanks for this recipe Laura! I feel the exact same way about tempeh, so usually shy away from cooking it but this recipe was a hit. My whole family loved it and my 5 year old even gave it a thumbs up (which is saying something considering the number of so-sos I’ve been getting lately). This will be added to our regular rotation!ReplyCancel

  • Julie Patterson30/05/2020 - 9:16 pm

    We made this recipe exactly as you directed with fantastic results! It was a delicious meal. Thank youReplyCancel

  • Jessica01/06/2020 - 8:08 am

    This was easy to make and so flavourful. We had it with a side of steamed asparagus. Perfection!ReplyCancel

  • mariah j kahl05/06/2020 - 11:07 pm

    So good. Savory and sweet. I used hone in place of coconut sugar and it was good. My non vegan family ate it all!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda08/06/2020 - 11:06 pm

    Made this for dinner tonight just as written and served with steamed broccoli
    – my whole family loved it! Thank you for another great recipe, Laura! This one’s definitely going in my saved folder :)ReplyCancel

  • Emily14/06/2020 - 7:40 pm

    HELL. YA. Just made this tonight and HOLY SHIZ. SO easy and reminds me of my childhood favorite, sesame chicken! Best recipe I have made in a while!ReplyCancel

  • Alix15/06/2020 - 9:44 pm

    Beyond delicious. I would possibly reduce the ginger. Used a chipotle hot sauce. Adding this to the recipe rotationReplyCancel

  • Anita18/06/2020 - 8:15 pm

    This was delish! Crumbled and crispy tempeh is definitely the way to go. I did the coconut rice in the instant pot which worked really well I just decreased the water by 1/2. Will definitely cook tempeh like this again :)ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Gold23/06/2020 - 7:06 pm

    I’ve made this twice now. Delicious! Tonight, I doubled the sauce for the tempeh and added broccoli to the pan for the last 6-7 minutes. Thanks for the recipe!ReplyCancel

  • Julie Patterson27/06/2020 - 10:39 pm

    I have made this dish twice and really enjoyed it. I did tweak it a little for our picky palates the 2nd go round by using just a dash of the hot sauce(my hubby is a heat lightweight!) And i did add some honey (how can you ever go wrong with a bit of honey?!)
    Your recipes have always proven delicious and this one is exceptional! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel10/07/2020 - 2:19 pm

    This was phenomenal! It’s one of the best meals I’ve made in 2020—it’s really really simple and so flavorful.

    I skipped the tempeh steaming step because personally, I don’t notice a huge change whether I steam or don’t steam, and I love tempeh either way. This helped keep the kitchen cooler (July heat!) and the process faster. I don’t have coconut sugar so I used raw cane sugar.

    I made the rice as described and everyone loved it, but honestly, I’d also like this with regular old rice! The tempeh really shines, so a plain grain would be just fine with me.ReplyCancel

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

*

*