Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Tempeh, Quinoa & Kale

Right, this one is a superfood showdown. Admittedly, for anyone who isn't a veggie, tripping merrily through the aisles of their local wholefood co-operative, some of the ingredients below might look a little left field but, trust me, once you've got used to chopping up tempeh and splashing mirin around, it'll be a doddle. By the way, if you're in Manchester  this all available, pretty much, at Unicorn Grocery in Chorlton.

But back to the superfood thing. The tempeh alone is pretty amazing with a big dollop of amino acids and protein, oodles of Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate, Manganese and B6. The quinoa is silly good for you, with a high level of protein and all the essential amino acids. The seeds and the kale follow up close behind... the good news though is that it tastes great and doesn't come across like some kind of punishment doled out by Gillian McKeith. The dish is great on its own with pitta or similar, could be used as a side dish, and you can even let it cool down to use with a couple of other salads.


150g tempeh, chopped into 2cm cubes
100g quinoa
150g roughly chopped curly kale
80g mushrooms, sliced
100g mixed sunflower & pumpkin seeds
1 medium onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
2 tbsp veg oil
Tsp salt
Tsp sesame oil
Tsp mirin
Tbsp soy sauce
Tsp rice vinegar


Start off by cooking the quinoa and laying to one side. It's just like rice in terms of timing and method, so should all be fine. I actually pop a tablespoon of olive oil in the pan first, then add the quinoa and stir through over a high heat, then add boiling water and cook. Using the oil first gives the quinoa a little extra nuttiness.

While all that's going on, pop the tempeh and sliced onion, with the vegetable oil, into a wok and cook until the start to brown. Then, add the seeds and garlic and continue to cook until the seeds start to brown too. All of that should take 15-20 minutes. Then add the mushrooms and salt, and cook until the mushrooms brown.

At this point tip in the kale... I'd use two spoons or spatulas here to toss the mix through, one in each hand, and then the kale will quickly reduce down, like spinach, to become more manageable. At this point add all the lovely oriental liquids: the sesame oil, the mirin, the rice vinegar and the soy sauce. Cook for 10 minutes or so, no more (have no idea why people think you should overcook kale) and then when it's all reduced nicely, turn through with the quinoa. Don't mix in completely - you want the quinoa in relatively fluffy 'clumps' to offset the tempeh and seeds. Yum.

To serve:

The above is a two person recipe as a main meal, four people as one dish amongst many. If it's making its own way in the world, then the simplest thing is serving up with a few slices of pitta bread.

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