The key to enjoying tempeh is marinating it, traditionally with a rub of garlic and toasted coriander, or with a lemongrass flavoured shoyu marinade. Tempeh is made from soybeans which are soaked then steamed, peeled and split, mixed with a starter culture “Rhizophus Oligosporus” and then packed into perforated plastic bags and left to mature at a temperature of 30C for 2 days to mature in much the same way as blue cheese.
It is referred to in Indonesia as “the meat of the fields” as far cheaper, but just as nutritious. Tempeh is an excellent source of vitamins, rich in protein, high in fibre, low in calories, low in saturated fats, and low in carbohydrates, free of cholesterol and easier to digest than tofu. It’s gluten free and vegan.
Tempeh is readily available from Asian stores & healthfood stores and is usually kept in the freezer-at home it is best to keep it in the freezer until you need it as it will carry on fermenting and turn black if left in the fridge.
Gado Gado is a classic Indonesian dish which literally means “Mix Mix”. It features green beans and other vegetables, hard boiled eggs and a spicy peanut sauce. Traditionally Gado Gado is served with crispy prawn crackers and a good vegetarian alternative is fried rice noodles or cassava chips to give the dish added crunch.
Gado Gado with Satay Tempeh
Dietary: Gluten Free, Vegan Option, Contains Nuts
- One block of plain tempeh
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 stick of lemongrass, finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp nutmeg, grated
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 tbsp sesame, peanut or vegetable oil
- 4 tbsp tamari
- juice of one lime
- apple juice to cover
- 4 eggs-hard boiled, peeled and halved (optional)
- 500g new potatoes, washed
- 300g green beans
- 150g cabbage (white, Chinese or spring greens)
- 20g beansprouts
- Chopped coriander
- Chopped red chilli
- A handful of prawn crackers or cassava chips
- A handful of toasted or roasted peanuts, lightly chopped
- 100g crunchy peanut butter
- 2 chopped red chillies
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 stick lemongrass
- 3 lime leaves
- 2-4 tbsp tamarind liquid
- Juice and zest of a lime
- 5g ground black pepper
- Sugar and salt to taste
To make the marinade for the Tempeh:
- Place all of the marinade ingredients in a large bowl or Tupperware box and add the tempeh. Make sure it is covered with liquid.
- Mix well so that the tempeh is well coated and leave in the refrigerator to marinade. You can leave it for one hour or up to 12 hours. The longer it is left the stronger the flavor will be.
To make the Peanut Sauce:
- In a small food processor (or with a sharp knife) chop the chillies, garlic, lemongrass and lime leaves until they are a paste.
- Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan and add the spicy paste. Stir fry for 5 minutes on a low heat.
- Add the peanut butter, lime juice and zest, tamarind and black pepper and 2 tbsp water. Stir well and cook on a low heat for 5 minutes.
- Taste and add sugar, lime, salt and pepper to your taste
To prepare the vegetables:
- Top and tail the beans and slice the cabbage into thick strips.
- Cut the potatoes into quarters and place in a pan of cold water-bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until they are almost cooked.
- Add the beans to the boiling water for the final 2 minutes, and finally the cabbage for about 1 minute.
- As you drain the vegetables add the beansprouts. They will cook with the heat of the other vegetables.
- Leave the vegetables to stand for a couple of minutes and then cool under cold water and set aside.
To cook the tempeh:
- When you are ready to cook remove the tempeh from the marinade and drain on kitchen towel.
- Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a wok or large frying pan and add the tempeh.
- Stir fry quickly until it is golden on the outside. This will take 5-10 minutes.
To assemble the Gado Gado:
- Place the cooked vegetables on a large serving plate and cover with the peanut sauce.
- Arrange the stir fried tempeh on top and garnish with the hard boiled eggs, chopped coriander, chopped chilli and crispy noodles or cassava chips and toasted peanuts.
- Alternatively you can thread the tempeh onto kebab sticks and cook in a frying pan, under the grill or on a bbq. Just make sure it is coated in a little oil.