Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"Tijuana Tempeh"

One of the foods I craved the most when in South America was tempeh. I had plenty of access to tofu (yay China Town!), but it’s not the same, at all. As soon as I could, I looked online for some tempeh stir-fry inspiration. At this point I was still in the corn, etc., phase of my food re-introduction program (see bottom of this post). I think I’ve been eating corn chips every day; that’s not good, but other than that my diet has been pretty freaking healthy.

I found this recipe from the website In A Vegetarian Kitchen with Nava Atlas. I spent a lot of time reading the recipes; they look pretty tasty. Also, I was colored impressed by the array of cookbooks this lady had published. She has a ton of vegan and vegetarian books, some of which I’ve seen at friends’ houses (and they have great taste). Here’s the recipe I went with:

Tijuana Tempeh

Serves: 4

. 3/4 cup vegetable stock
. 2 tablespoons shoyu or natural soy sauce (I used Bragg’s, I bet it's better with soy sauce)
. 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
. 4 teaspoons light sesame oil
. 8-ounce package tempeh
. 2 medium-sized red or yellow onions, sliced thin
. 6 to 8 large cloves garlic, minced
. 1 jalapeño or serrano chile, seeded and minced, or to taste
. 2 medium red bell peppers, cut into 1 1/2-inch strips
. 4 small zucchini, cut into 1 1/2-inch strips
. 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
. 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced (optional)

Whisk together the stock, shoyu, and lime juice.

Set a wok or stir-fry pan over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons of the oil and the tempeh, turning it to coat both sides. Brown the tempeh on both sides. Remove it from the wok and cut it into strips about 1/2 inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long; set aside.

Reheat the wok over medium-high heat and add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil, swirling it to coat the sides of the pan. Add the onions and stir-fry for two to three minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic, chile, and red bell peppers and continue stir-frying for tow minutes more.

Add the zucchini and tempeh and stir-fry about one minute. Add the liquid seasoning mixture. Cover the wok and cook for several minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender and the liquid is almost absorbed. Serve immediately, garnished with the cilantro, and avocado if desired.

If you try this, I recommend throwing in some guacamole (homemade or Trader Joe’s version) on the side. Chips help to fill in the serious absence of crunch, especially as the texture in this stir-fry can be a bit mushy (crunchy tempeh would have been better).

Really quickly, I will write down the gist of my guacamole recipe. It is always good.

4 ripe avocados
1/4 cup diced red onions
4-6 cloves garlic (I like garlic)
1 tomato, diced
a LOT of chopped cilantro, like, definitely more than half a cup, maybe even a whole cup (I love cilantro)
Tbsp of hot sauce (my preference is Valentina Salsa)
salt, to taste
lime juice, to taste

That's basically it. If it's not incredibly delicious, usually adding more salt or lime juice helps.

I thoroughly enjoyed the leftovers of the "Tijuana Tempeh" (silly name, hm?) more than the first meal, especially when I added more lime juice and salt (see? It helps.). All in all this meal was okayyy the first time out, better and better as leftovers. I'm sure I'll be happier with this the next time I make it.


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