Tomato Spinach Tempeh Stir Fry
For most vegans, tempeh serves as a valuable protein source. Although its earthy taste can take some getting accustomed to, it generally tends to soak up the flavors of the food it is cooked with. In the tomato spinach stir fry, the tempeh takes on the sweetness of the coconut sugar caramelized onions and tomatoes, spice of Thai chillies, and bitterness of the spinach.
Tempeh is one of the few soy foods not originating in China, Japan, or Korea. Instead, tempeh is believed to have first been prepared on the island of Java in Indonesia, at least hundreds of years ago. However, less is known about the exact origins of tempeh than other soy foods. We do know that trade between Indonesia and China was well underway as early as 1000 AD and that soybeans may have been a part of those trading practices. We also know that a fermentation process used for coconut was already being practiced in China and that this process may have been adapted for use with soybeans. Whatever the exact origins of tempeh, it would not have been uncommon for individuals in Java, China, Japan, or Korea to think about food preparation in terms of fermentation. Fermented foods had become a well-established part of Asian cuisines for several thousand years, and it’s probably most sensible to think about tempeh as a logical part of this fermented food tradition.
Health Note: Tempeh is more digestible than tofu and offers many health benefits such as cardiovascular and bone health. Tempeh also has cancer preventative properties because of benefits of a balance of soy in diet.
3 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 purple onion diced
2 cloves garlic
3 Thai chilies chopped
8 ounces tempeh cut into squares
1/4 cup ketchup
1 cup cherry tomatoes or 1 tomato sliced
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp coconut sugar
2 tbsp vegetable stock
4 cups raw spinach
Directions: Preheat oil in wok. Saute onions, garlic, and tempeh. Turn down heat to low-medium. Add ketchup, tomatoes, soy sauce, pepper, sugar, and vegetable stock. Saute 2 minutes until tender. Turn off heat and mix in spinach until cooked down. Serve by self or with jasmine rice.
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