Tempeh is a curious ingredient – but when you have the know-how, it is one of the purest ways to enjoy the health benefits of the soya bean. Here is a simple and tasty tempeh recipe, served with creamy polenta.
Impulse Foods make several varieties of organic tempeh, including garlic and herb, which I used for this recipe. One of the tricks with tempeh is to marinade or cook it in other strong flavours, like tamarind, tamari, garlic and ginger, so it soaks up and stores them within it’s hearty texture.
The rich and dense tempeh is served here with a creamy polenta to contrast, which is also incredibly quick to whip up. They compliment each other very well. I’d recommend experimenting with tempeh first, learn how you like to cook it. It’s a complicated taste that not everyone will like, but you may love.
Viva!’s Vegetarian Recipe Club has some other serving suggestions, in addition to this recipe.
Tamarind and Mushroom Tempeh with Creamy Polenta
Preparation/cooking time 30 mins
1 tbsp olive oil
½ red onion, finely chopped
1cm of ginger, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 pack tempeh with herbs and garlic (or plain), cubed
200g/7oz mushrooms, sliced
2 tsp tomato puree
1 tsp tamarind paste
½ tsp malt vinegar
1 tsp tamari or soya sauce
2 tsp olive oil
½ tsp brown sugar
Pinch all spice
Pinch medium chilli powder
Pinch ground black pepper
100ml boiling water
Splash red wine (optional)
150g/5oz polenta grain
300ml soya milk
Pinch of dried mixed herbs
Salt & pepper
1. Fry the onion, ginger and garlic in a large frying pan in the olive oil, for two minutes. Add in the tempeh and continue to cook for a good 5 minutes. Turn the tempeh cubes over so they start turn golden on all sides.
2. Add in the mushrooms and continue to fry everything for a few minutes until they begin to soften too. Add a touch more olive oil if the mix is too dry.
3. Place all the sauce ingredient in a bowl, adding the boiling water on top as the last step. Stir it in gradually to help the tamarind paste melt and everything combine. Now pour this mixture onto the tempeh & mushrooms.
4. Turn down the heat and allow everything to simmer in the sauce, for around 10 mins.
5. Meanwhile, prepare the polenta. Bring the water and soya milk to the boil in a medium saucepan. Add the polenta and stir continuously, allowing it to cook for just a minute (be careful, it does have a habit of bubbling at this stage). The longer the polenta is cooked, the quicker it will go firm – so the trick here is to just give it minute. Season to taste and sprinkle in some herbs.
6. Serve the tempeh & mushroom with the polenta, immediately. The polenta will go hard if left to go cold (it still tastes nice, but is better soft in this context). Enjoy with a generous blob of brown sauce!