Tag Archives: asian

Teriyaki Tempeh with Vegetables and Creamy Millet

31 Jan

Day 29 – a TEMPting recipe

My mom is an a-MAZing cook. She can go to a restaurant, try any dish, come home and make it. She rarely uses recipes. Well, I never used to either, but now that I’m blogging I do. I suppose it would be hard to replicate a dish based on “a little of this” and “a little of that”. Kind of like getting directions from a Mainer. I can say that, I’m a Mainer. (If you’ve never gotten directions from a Mainer it goes something like this, turn left at the top of the hill, go down the hill, around the sharp corner, drive past the cornfield, make a right at the huge rock…you get the picture.) I also rarely repeat dishes, usually because I don’t have a recipe. Mr. K really liked the mushroom-barley soup and now I can actually make it again!

I had a hankering for comfort food so I asked my mom for her Teriyaki marinade recipe. It’s so simple and is far superior to any bottled brands that have additives. They have to keep it from growing hair on the shelf, right? Some organic brands use purer ingredients, but still, marinades like everything else, taste better and are better for you, when they’re freshly made.

This tempeh recipe is full of flavor with tons of whole grains and healthy proteins, but without bad fats and additives. All these ingredients are commonly found at most grocery stores. What the hell is tempeh? It’s another fermented soy product using the whole soybean and has a meaty texture. It’s really versatile and can be steamed, fried, baked, crumbled, you name it. Here are five other ways to prepare tempeh. To learn more about tempeh click here. This recipe would also work with tofu, or dare I say chicken if you are an omnivore.

I used millet because of it’s creamy, polenta-like texture, but you could substitute with any grain or pasta. Rice, quinoa, farro, orzo, or soba noodles would be really good. Damn. Soba, that’s a good idea. Oh well, at least now I can say I can try that next time!

I happened to use carrots, peppers and scallions because that’s what I had, but you can use any vegetable. sautéed onions with broccoli or bok choy would be amazing.

And as always, this just happens to be vegan. I’ve stopped leading with that because some of you fraidy cats seem to think that means it will not be good. BUT IT IS!!!! Get your tempeh on!

Teriyaki Tempeh and Vegetables with Creamy Millet

Kiyo’s Teriyaki Marinade:

1/4 cup tamari

1/4 cup red wine

1 1/2 T sugar

optional: pinch red chili pepper flakes

optional: 1 garlic clove minced or pressed with a garlic press

Rest of dish:

1 cup uncooked millet

2 T canola oil

2-3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

4 medium to large shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, heads sliced

1 cup red pepper, diced

1 cup green pepper, diced

2 bunches scallions, green & white parts sliced

1/4 cup organic, low-sodium vegetable stock/broth on hand if needed

1. Get drinking. I cook way better with some alcohol in me. Only 1 glass. Any more and I start burning stuff. Exhibit A, see burnt eggplant here. For this meal, I cracked a lovely Bricco del Perg Barbera d’Asti 2006. I got this one at Eataly Vino.

pretty girl

2. Remove tempeh from package (or cook with it if you like that plastic taste) and place in a small baking dish to marinade. I used a 9×13 which was a bit large. I wouldn’t recommend marinating with plastic bags because the tempeh is too fragile and can easily break up if not handled delicately. Plus, I try to cook green when I can.

Cut tempeh horizontally into quarters.

Then cut each square in half on a diagonal to make eight small triangles.

3. Pour the red wine, tamari, and sugar into a saucepan. Begin cooking over low-medium heat. Stir with a little whisk or spoon. Optional: Add red chili pepper flakes and garlic if using. Cook until sugar is dissolved. Tip: See the mini whisk in the pic below? This is a great little kitchen tool, perfect for sauces like this or a small portion of salad dressing. Available at most kitchen supply stores including Williams-Sonoma and often Bed Bath and Beyond.

heating the marinade

Remove from heat and pour over tempeh.

Let tempeh marinade for at least an hour. Be sure to frequently spoon the marinade over the tempeh and to flip the tempeh over to ensure both sides are covered.

4. Once the tempeh has marinated for almost an hour, begin to cook the millet according to manufacturer’s directions. I use EDEN brand whole grain millet which cooks for 30 minutes.

5. When there’s 15 minutes left on the millet timer, put a large saute pan on medium heat. With tongs, remove the tempeh from the marinade. SAVE the marinade. Add the oil and when the pan is hot, add the tempeh. Cook until each side is seared nice and brown, about 4-5 minutes per side.

6. Remove tempeh from the pan and reserve, keeping warm. Tip: You can also store on a sheet pan in a warm oven (about 150-200 degrees). In the same pan as you used for the tempeh, add the carrots over medium heat. Saute 2-3 minutes until they begin to brown. Drizzle marinade over carrots until glistening, about 2 teaspoons. Add mushrooms. Saute 1-2 minutes until they begin to soften. Drizzle more marinade over veggies until moistened, about 2 teaspoons. Add red and green peppers. Saute. Drizzle more marinade. If the pan is getting very dry or over heated, add enough vegetable stock/broth to loosen the sucs from the bottom of the pan, about 2 tablespoons. Last, add the scallions, saute for 1-2 minutes until slightly softened and add the remainder of the marinade. If you don’t have much sauce but want more, add a little more vegetable stock/broth and let it simmer for a couple minutes to thicken. You kind of have to eyeball the sauce until it’s the desired quantity and consistency. Just add slowly. You can always add more, but you can’t take away.


7. When the millet is done, fluff with a fork. Let it sit for about 5 minutes. Be sure you season the millet very well and taste it before serving or it can be super bland and taste like a foot. Tip: I like to reserve some millet for breakfast the following day so I usually take about half out before seasoning and put it in a separate storage bowl. The remaining millet I season to taste with salt and pepper and use for the tempeh dish.

fluffy millet

8. Put the tempeh in with the vegetables for a couple minutes delicately spooning the sauce over them until covered. Plate the seasoned millet and top with vegetables, a little sauce and the seared tempeh.

Tip: If you find tempeh a little bitter, you can steam it before marinating. Follow the directions here.


Vegan in LA: Susan Feniger’s “Street”

19 Jan

Day 16 – Hitting Mainstream

Another amazing dinner out in LA! I’ve wanted to try Susan Feniger’s Street, an asian-inspired street food restaurant for quite a while, but never made it until now. I made a reservation on Open Table after calling in advance to confirm they had vegan options. The reservationist was so friendly and said “Absolutely, there are definitely options. Be sure to let the server know when you arrive and they can help you with the menu”.  This got me pretty jazzed because as much as I love pure vegan food, I was ready for something other than tempeh.

Upon arrival, I reiterated my dietary handicapability to the host who indicated she’d tell the server. We were seated outside at a lovely table in the back. It was pretty dark back there so the tables came equipped with flashlights (well except our’s so I stole one from the table next to us).

I told the server I was vegan and with a big smile she happily helped me navigate through the menu. A number of dishes could be made vegan if they weren’t already.

First things first, get me a drink! I ordered a tamarind based margarita which was scrumptious.

Next, the Mandoo Vegetable Dumplings were crispy little pillows of goodness. Asian vegetables, sweet potato and kimchi filled dumplings with roasted ginger yam and sesame dipping sauce (YUM!). Totally satisfied my gyoza craving. I think we’re 1 or 2 short in this pic because yet again, I dove in without thinking. You’ll notice a pattern here.

Next, the New Jerusalem Bread Salad (without feta). A chopped salad with chickpeas, persian cucumber, tomato, and parsley, topped with cumin toasted olive bread drizzled with warm sumac oil and fresh lemon. This was similar to the traditional chopped salad I’ve ordered at Lebanese and mediterranean restaurants. Soooo fresh and delish. They were happy to prepare it without the cheese but oddly, it showed up with a hard-boiled egg as a garnish. Clearly, someone missed the memo. Unless maybe one of the chickpeas laid it?

For our main entrees, the husband got the chilled soba noodles (with orange, sesame, mirin, chile, and soy). I had the Thai Rice Noodles (flat wide rice noodles with Chinese broccoli, (no seasoned pork), tomato, mint, Thai basil and chiles. The server kindly asked if I wanted tofu instead of pork – so thoughtful.

The soba noodle dish was nicely flavored with the citrus/sesame combination, but the overall texture was a bit mushy for me. I liked the Thai Rice Noodle dish but wished there were a few more noodles. Perhaps I’m just used to the bad Thai in NYC that is 99% noodle/1% vegetable.

We also got a side of sautéed brussel sprouts (with apples and hazelnuts, no goat cheese). I was a little disappointed when they arrived shredded since I prefer them halved or whole.

The food was good, but for me, the service is what really stood out.  I was so surprised how helpful and accommodating they were; I must be a scorned NYorker because I felt like asking why are you being so nice? I think some of their “star” dishes were probably the meats, but I was still pleased with my dinner and even more thrilled to have a change of pace to eat at a non-vegan restaurant. Thanks Street for a fun night out!


Tofu with Peppers & Onions in Spicy Coconut Milk

11 Jan

Day 9

First off, I’m an idiot. My post yesterday was actually supposed to be day 8, not day 7. Great, at this rate this will be the longest vegan 30 day challenge in history. Maybe I can enter myself in Guinness. OK moving on to the grub…

It was freakin freezing today which put me in the mood for something warm and comforting. My trusty 1,000 Vegan Recipes cookbook had a recipe for Indonesian tempeh in coconut gravy that sounded promising. I wasn’t in the mood for tempeh though so I went with tofu instead.

Tofu can be intimidating in the beginning. It’s not the friendliest looking ingredient. It’s so BLAH it kind of looks up at you like, “what are you looking at? you totally don’t know what to do with me do you?”  Tofu really is amazing though; it takes on the tastes of whatever it’s paired with. It can be salty, smoky, sweet, curried, whatever you want it to be. My preference? Seared. I like that crusty outside with squishy middle.

The key to doing this is getting all the water out before you cook it. Here’s how I do it.

Prepping Tofu

1. Line a 1/4 baking sheet or cookie sheet with two layers of paper towels. Slice lengthwise into three slabs. Place another layer of paper towels on the tofu. Place a second 1/4 baking sheet or cookie sheet on top of the tofu. Weigh it down with cans and let it sit for an hour.

And that’s it, it’s ready to use! I used this batch in the recipe below. A nice hearty, spicy, warm, comforting meal on a cold winter’s day.

Tofu with peppers and onions in spicy coconut milk sauce

1 packet tofu

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced or in a garlic press

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

1 medium green bell pepper, chopped

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, DRAINED

1 (13.5 ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes (adjust to desired heat)

salt and freshly ground pepper


Asian chili paste

Serve over cooked brown rice or rice noodles.

1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Make sure the pan is nice and hot then add the tofu. Shake the pan to ensure the oil is completely under all the tofu pieces so they don’t stick. You could also use a nonstick pan if you prefer (you can probably cut the oil to 1/2 tablespoon as well).  Cook until golden brown on both sides. Remove from skillet and set aside.

2. In the same skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium heat. Add the onion. Saute until they begin to turn translucent 2-3 minutes. Add red and green peppers, garlic and chili flakes. Cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in drained tomatoes and coconut milk. Reduce heat to low, add the reserved tofu and sugar.  Season with salt, sugar and pepper to taste.

3. Garnish with chopped basil and asian chili sauce (to desired heat). Serve over brown rice or rice noodles. I use this brand of asian chili sauce by Union Foods, available at Whole Foods.

On a side note, I had planned to put eggplant in this dish as well. That was, until I burned the shit out of it. See? We all mess up cooking, no biggee. The only thing that matters is how you recover. In this case, I made sure I had enough veggies to make up for the volume of eggplant I was missing.

I never do anything half-assed. Unfortunately, that includes burning things. See the pic below for proof. I almost dehydrated them down to powder. Note to self: don’t get sucked into a movie without a timer going. Rookie mistake.

Recipe adapted from 1,000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson

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