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Tempeh -- Don't Serve Without a Warning, Tempeh Vegetable Stir-Fry

Posted Jan 11 2009 3:37pm
I just had the most fascinating email chat with Mark Scarborough about tempeh. Now, how often does one get to do something like that with a kinda famous cookbook author? Not part of my usual day.

Mark described his current desire for tempeh and vegetable stir-fries arising from having raised his own pigs and dealing with the aftermath in his meat-filled freezer . This may not be something that you can relate to, I can't (or it might be, don't know) but in any case, whatever it takes to get people eating more tempeh is just fine with me.

Here is what Mark said about tempeh, "Tempeh is a very hard sell--but I'm really not sure why. Maybe it's that slightly fermented taste? Or the texture? I certainly wouldn't serve it to most people without warning."

Do you need a warning to eat tempeh? I certainly don't but I do believe that Mark has a better handle on what people eat than I do. (I wear vegan- and vegetarian-colored glasses.)

Here's what Mark said about tempeh, "I do indeed like tempeh. We slice it up into a simple, sweet/sour/spicy stir-fry with snow peas, thinly sliced shallots, and thinly sliced red bell pepper. Had it for lunch today, in fact. Hoi sin, soy sauce, sambal, shaoshing, vinegar. Nothing complicated--but over sticky, short-grain brown rice, I think it's a great dish."

Here's my version of Mark's description with a tweak or 2. I like to steam my tempeh first which opens it up to absorb more marinade. Mark doesn't steam or marinate it. Your choice. Either way, it's likely to be delicious.


Mark Scarborough's Tempeh Vegetable Stir-Fry by The Veggie Queen


1 8 ounce package tempeh, any kind, sliced into thin strips (I particularly like Turtle Mountain Spicy tempeh)
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce
1-2 teaspoons sambal oleck or your favorite hot sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1-2 tablespoons Shaoshing wine (optional)
1-2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon canola or peanut oil
3 tablespoons thinly sliced shallots
1/2 cup sliced red pepper (in season) or carrots (in winter), thinly sliced on the diagonal
1/2 cup snow peas, stemmed, cut in half on the diagonal


Steam the tempeh for 5 minutes over boiling water.
While the tempeh is steaming, mix together all the liquid ingredients in a shallow pan and stir to combine.
Add steamed tempeh to liquids and let marinate for at least 15 minutes, and up to 30 minutes.
Remove tempeh from the marinade.
Heat a wok over medium-high heat. Add the oil and then the tempeh and shallots. Stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the red pepper or carrot and stir for another 2-3 minutes, until the pepper or carrot is getting cooked through. Add the marinade and the snow peas. Cook until the snow peas are bright green.
Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more of any of the ingredients until it tastes right to you.
For me, I would garnish this with cilantro but that's because I love cilantro.
Serve over short grain brown rice.


Feel free to let me know what you think by emailing me at jill@theveggiequeen.com.
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