Put down that jar of stir-fry sauce right now because this recipe is all about celebrating fresh, crisp, and vibrant ingredients that come together quickly and easily. Stir-frying is all about speedy cooking, simplicity and getting the most flavour and crunch possible out of a handful of vitamin-packed whole ingredients, which is exactly what you get with this recipe. No hidden preservatives, no hidden sugar. Just delicious, fresh, zesty flavours.
I’ve called this a bowl to reflect the idea that this recipe combines a handful of wholesome elements that come together once cooked separately; and I’ve added in a few extras to create a super taste sensation! If you haven’t tried tempeh yet, I think you’ll love it cooked in this way: marinated, then baked to lip-licking perfection. If you can’t get your hands on a block, firm tofu will work just as well.
Using coconut oil for stir-frying is great, because you want something with a high smoke point (great alternatives are sesame and groundnut oils) so that the lovely fresh vegetables stay lovely and crisp, rather than turning soggy. This is also a good reason to have all the ingredients rinsed, chopped and ready to go before even glancing at your wok – they key to this dish is speedy simplicity!
You can, of course, cook the tempeh in the pan or wok with the rest of your dish (I would perhaps cook it first in the oil, remove it and return at the end of cooking, as tempeh can crumble), but I like the way it crisps up in the oven, locking all of the marinade inside like a juicy secret, while you focus all your attention on getting the vegetables just right.
I’ll let you into another secret (that everyone probably already knows, because – duh – logic): some vegetables take longer to cook, so put them into the pan first. Stir-frying is definitely one example of the importance of viewing cooking as science…
Are you a fan of samphire? I first tried it whilst holidaying on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, in search of anything to eat for dinner that didn’t include yoghurt. Samphire became a feature of that holiday. Not that I knew it had, mind you, because locally it is known as ‘sea beans’ (and even then, one request for ‘sea beans’ was reciprocated with a bowl of white beans in tomato sauce – confusing).
Anyway. I really love samphire and try to incorporate it into far too many meals (which I don’t tell you about), but I think it’s ok to reveal it in this dish because it just works. A lot of stir-fry dishes often suffer from an overdose of salt, leaving me reaching in desperation at 2am for Dan’s pint of water (sorry, husband); so the addition of this sea-weedy gem here is a genius way to include a natural salty flavour without over-doing it on the soy sauce. Each little stalk, when crunched, releases tiny bubbles of salt water, which is just as odd as it is delightful.
So here’s some of what you’re going to taste:
- sweetness, from the barely-cooked peppers;
- saltiness, from the tender samphire;
- rich, earthy depth from the mushrooms;
- vitality, heat and fragrance from the ginger;
- garlicky, spiced, crisp tempeh with bite;
- fresh, floral lime and coriander; and
- toasted, fragrant coconut sprinkles.
And if that wasn’t enough, here are a few more reasons to cook this for your dinner tonight. This recipe will give you:
- a high-protein dish, thanks to the marinated tempeh and variety of vegetables;
- a quick and simple dinner;
- a great and healthy alternative to ready-made stir-fry sauces;
- a meal high in antioxidants and vitamins A and C, from the pak choi, broccoli, samphire and pepper; and
- a dish full of superfood power with the ginger and turmeric, both of which have powerful anti-inflammatory and digestive health benefits.
I hope you love it!
- 100g brown rice, rinsed
- 200ml water
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 200g tempeh
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1 tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp tamari (or other soy sauce)
- 1 lime
- 2 tsp solid coconut oil
- 30g desiccated coconut
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger
- 125g shiitake or oyster mushrooms
- 100g tender stem broccoli
- 100g green beans
- 500g white or red cabbage
- 1 orange pepper
- 250g pak choi
- 50g samphire
- 15g fresh coriander
- 2 tsp peanut butter
- At least 30 minutes before cooking: Prepare the tempeh marinade by combining the garlic, chilli flakes, garam masala, turmeric, vinegar, tamari and the juice of half the lime in an oven-proof dish. Dice the tempeh into small cubes and mix well with the marinade. Set aside.
- Slice the ginger into thin, long slivers, then the mushrooms, cabbage, pepper and pak choi, ready for the pan.
- Heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
- Add 1 tsp of coconut oil to the tempeh dish and place on a middle shelf. This will cook for 20 minutes, until crisp and browned.
- Put the rice, water and peppercorns in a saucepan and cover. Simmer until the water is absorbed (approx 20 minutes) then leave, covered until you're ready to serve.
- Put the tempeh dish in the oven. Check on it to give it a stir once in a while – it’s ready when it’s nicely browned and all the marinade has been absorbed or evaporated (about 20 minutes)
- Begin stir-frying once the rice has been cooking for 10 minutes.
- First, heat a large frying pan or wok on medium and toast the coconut. As soon as it starts to brown transfer it to a bowl.
- Melt the remaining tsp of coconut oil in the pan and start cooking with the ginger and mushrooms. Once softened a little, stir in the broccoli and beans - as these start to wilt, continue with the cabbage and peppers. Finish with the pak choi and samphire - these only need 30 seconds.
- To serve, combine the rice, stir fry vegetables and tempeh in bowls. Sprinkle with the toasted coconut and fresh coriander. Squeeze on the rest of the lime juice, and add tamari and peanut butter to taste.