Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tempeh Stir Fry with Moroccan Cous Cous

If you ever want to show someone that meatless meals can be delicious and satisfying, this is the dish to cook. I'd tried tempeh before, and wasn't thrilled with the results. This dish, however, showed how preparing the same ingredient two different ways can have completely opposite results. I won't tell you about the first tempeh dish I tried, because it would not sell you on trying this vegetarian protein source. This dish of marinated tempeh and vegetables was bursting with flavor, and blended north African and Asian flavors seamlessly.

Are you wondering what tempeh even is? That was my question up until a couple weeks ago. It's a fermented soybean cake, and it is sold in health food stores. Maybe if you're lucky you can find it at your regular grocery store, but I didn't have that much luck. I bought mine at Trader Joe's, and you can also find it at stores like Whole Foods. Tempeh tastes nutty and mushroom like, and has a more firm texture than tofu. I've never been thrilled with the mushy tofu experiences I've had in the past, and think I'll try experimenting with with using tempeh in place of tofu in upcoming dishes. (Like Alton Brown's Bar-B-Fu, which was disgusting. Mushy tofu that was supposed to turn firm enough for sandwiches. Not a good dish at all... but tempeh in it's place might be delish!)

I did tweak this recipe a bit. First, I decided to follow other reviewers advice and skip the skewers. Stir fry worked just as well, and was a lot easier. I also only marinated the tempeh over night. Then, when I got home from work I added the chopped veggies to the marinade, and let it soak for about 45 minutes. I thought mushrooms and eggplant were way too sponge-like to be marinating overnight, and the shorter time seemed to work perfectly. I plan to make this recipe again in the future, and don't think I'd change anything at all.

Tempeh Stir Fry with Moroccan Cous Cous

1 (8 ounce) package tempeh, cut into 1/2 inch squares
16 fresh white mushrooms
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
16 cherry tomatoes
8 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon ground cumin
salt to taste
1 cup dry couscous
3/4 cup raisins (I like golden raisins)
3/4 cup drained canned chick-peas (garbanzo beans)
1 lemon

Place tempeh in a large resealable plastic bag. In a mixing bowl, whisk together olive oil, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, and honey; season with 1 tablespoon ginger, 1 tablespoon garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour mixture over tempeh, seal, and shake to coat. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight.

45 minutes before cooking, add the mushrooms, eggplant, and red bell pepper to the tempeh mixture. Shake to coat, and marinate another 45 minutes.

Place about 1 tsp of vegetable oil in a wok or large saute pan, and heat on medium high. Using a slotted spoon, remove the tempeh and vegetables from the plastic bag. Add to the saute pan and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until vegetables are cooked. Add the cherry tomatoes for the last minute of cooking.

(Original Kabob recipe-- Preheat grill for medium-high heat. Thread tempeh and veggies on skewers. Reserve remaining marinade. Grill skewers, turning often to make sure everything is cooked evenly. These can also be done in the broiler.)

Meanwhile, combine vegetable stock, 1 tablespoon grated ginger, cumin, and salt. Bring to a light boil. Stir in couscous, raisins, and garbanzo beans; cover, and remove from heat. Let sit for five minutes, or until fluffy. Just before serving, squeeze lemon over couscous and stir. Serve tempeh and vegetables over cous cous, with reserved marinade.


suze said...

so, i made the vegetarian stuffed peppers from your blog...i used one of each of green, red, orange and yellow peppers, and i used feta seasoned with mediterranean spices. i ended up not needing to add any salt or pepper after the fact, and i think it's because of the seasoned feta! ben was a huge fan of them, and we'll definitely be making them again soon. thanks so much for posting the recipe!

i heart you and your foodie wisdom :).

Anonymous said...

I LOVE morroccan dishes! And I'm always interested in different uses for tempeh b/c my brother loves it. This looks great!

Joelen said...

What a great vegetarian meal and I love the flavors this recipe incorporates!

A World in a PAN said...

Oh, I remember having Tempe in Java (INdonesia), string flavor I must say ...

Bren said...

girl u take me way back for some reason. it's been about 8 months since i've had couscous; what a great dish to have on the fly!

Emily said...

Hey, thanks for sharing the recipe! I used your picture for an article on tempeh at