This is one of two recipes developed for a Malaysian newspaper article about tempeh, and updating its image for it to be seen as a health food. And so it should! Containing 20% complete protein and a great source of micronutrients like riboflavin and phosphorous, and even probiotics due to its fermented nature, tempeh is a true gift from the plant-based gods.
I’ve tasted restaurant dishes containing basil and dark sauce, and have replicated it to be enjoyed with tempeh, which has sauce-absorbing superpowers.
A special ingredient in the recipe? Cocoa powder! But don’t worry, this won’t lead to a chocolate sauce! It merely adds richness without being overpowering.
Basil Tempeh Stir-Fry
A mildly herby tempeh stir-fry in a sweet dark sauce.
- 1 1/2 cups tempeh, sliced finely or diced into small pieces
- 50g (1 1/2 cup) basil leaves
- 1/2 large bell pepper
- 2/3 cups cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
- 1 stem of ginger flower
- 2 tbsps thick soya sauce
- 2 tbsps light soya sauce
- 2 tsps arrowroot powder
- 2 tsps carob powder (or substitute with cocoa powder)
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1/4 cup purified water
- 1 onion
- 5 cloves garlic
- Cooking oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Step 1 Heat two-three tablespoons cooking oil in cooking pan on high heat.
- Step 2 Cook tempeh pieces with a pinch of salt in pan for 10 minutes or until it starts to turn brown. Remove from heat and keep aside.
- Step 3 In a bowl, mix together light and dark soya sauces, arrow root powder, sugar, carob powder and water. Keep aside.
- Step 4 Chop garlic into slices and dice onion, remove stalks from basil leaves and cut bell pepper into thin strips. Cut 1.5cm off the ginger flower stem and cut this piece finely into small pieces.
- Step 5 Heat frying pan with two tablespoons of cooking oil on medium heat.
- Step 6 Fry onion, garlic, ginger flower and basil for one minute.
- Step 7 Toss in cauliflower and bell pepper and stir fry for one-two minutes.
- Step 8 Add tempeh pieces, followed by sauce mix. Stir continuously on low heat for three-five minutes to allow sauce to soak up basil flavour and thicken, and for tempeh to absorb some of the sauce as well.
- Step 9 Add a dash of pepper if preferred and serve immediately with rice.