Tempeh and Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Hash

Tempeh. Who knew it was so delicious? Well, not this guy until last night, which seems like a minor criminal offense for a foodie! My inspiration came from Katie Lee’s tweet proclaiming, “It’s a tempeh Tuesday at my house tonight….making a Tempeh Teriyaki Stir-Fry….yummmmm.” Indeed. What about a Tempeh Tuesday Hashcapade at Chez Clark?

Tempeh & Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Hash

As a newbie, I had to do a little research on tempeh to figure out: 1) What is it? and 2) How is it prepared? I used to think it was some sort of cross between hemp and tabouleh – um, no thanks, I’ll eat cardboard! But a quick search revealed a rich heritage from its Indonesian origins as a cake of fermented, minimally processed soy beans. Ok, I now have a slight clue. Next?

Tempeh is generally prepared by cutting it up, soaking it in a brine or other salty liquid and then frying it.  Chili, stew, stir-fry, soup, and salad all play nicely with tempeh. Some people even grate it and use it like ground beef for tacos – holy frijoles! One comment in the VegWeb.com forum mentioned poaching the tempeh for 10 minutes or so in vegetable broth. Say, that sounds like a fabulous idea!

Off to the store for provisions…

Simple ingredients for Tempeh Tuesday.

The obligatory what-the-hell-is-in-this-hash photo actually reminded me of a recent comparison of the cost of McDonald’s versus home-cooked meal. In it, they have photos of each and I proudly thought, “Slow Food rocks! Michael Pollan is genius! This is going to be epic!”

And so it was, but first I poached the tempeh for 10 minutes in Vegetarian Pho base. Why? It simply caught my eye on the shelf and Pacific Natural Foods is in my back yard, well in Tualatin. Locavore? Locapho? Whatever!

Next, I diced the sweet potatoes and fried them in the pan for about 10 minutes before adding shallots, ginger and garlic and cooking for another 5 minutes. Finally, I added the diced tempeh, curry, coconut milk and cilantro and let it heat through for another 5 minutes and voila – Tempeh Tuesday!

Poaching the tempeh for 10 minutes.

This hash came together quickly and easily - yusss!

Tempeh and Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Hash Redux

So how did my first experiment with tempeh taste? Fabulous, if I do say so myself! The nutty, firm and dense texture was a pleasant surprise, reminding me of a crispy chicken dish I once had. Since tempeh soaks up the flavors, the pho and curry popped in my mouth next with a hint of ginger, shallot, coconut and cilantro – yum!

When I make this again, I’ll use yams with orange to offset the tempeh’s beige hue or perhaps add another vegetable like kale or green beans for even more color. Let me know what you think – other variations? Favorite ways to prepare tempeh?

Happy Hashcapades,

Clark

Tempeh and Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Hash

8 oz package of tempeh
2 cups Vegetarian Pho
> Pour pho into small skillet and bring to slight simmer
> Add tempeh and poach for 10 minutes, remove and pat dry, dice into 1/2 cubes
2 cups sweet potatoes (about 2 small potatoes or 1 big one)
2 Tbsp EVOO
> While tempeh poaches, heat large pan on medium to medium high, adding with oil
> Dice sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes and add once pan is hot, cooking and stirring occasionally for 10 minutes
1/2 cup diced shallots
1 tsp fresh ground ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
> Add above to pan and continue to cook, for about another 5 minutes or until potatoes are done
5.5 oz coconut milk
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp salt
> Turn pan down to medium low and add above + tempeh, stirring until any coconut clumps are gone and the mixture is well integrated and the tempeh is warmed through, about 5 minutes
> Season to taste and serve on plate with garnish of cilantro
Serves 2

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