What’s happening, my reduced-meat-eating friends? It’s ok if I call you that, right? I mean, I don’t expect you all to be vegetarians, but if you’re not eating at least a one or two meatless meals per week, then really, what are you doing reading this blog? Work isn’t that boring, is it? Come on, do it, don’t be a poser.
I just have time for a quick post today, lots of research to do for school…as far as I know, this dissertation is not going to write itself. When you’re finished reading this post, don’t be surprised if you find yourself craving another blog post 30 minutes later. Why? It’s about Chinese food! Even better, in keeping with what seems to be a theme running through recent NMA recipes, it involves black beans! (From the comments, by Mel @ She Runs Brooklyn: “Looks like there’s a black bean party goin’ on at NMA. What will you use it in next?” This one’s for you, Mel!)
The recipe is a stir fry, and the best thing about it was how simple it was to make. Remember what I said about giving this no-meat thing a try a few times a week? Well, you’ll never find a better one to start with. Tempeh has a very meaty texture (to me, anyway) and is a perfect vegetarian substitute for chicken. The recipe that inspired this one is from the always-delicious, always-easy Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast: Vegetarian cookbook. I made a few changes—mainly subbing tempeh for tofu, and kale for bok choy. (This just in—Erin’s garden works! Check out the sweet zuke!)
In making many, many bad, limp stir-frys, I’ve become quite adept at effortlessly screwing them up. With that knowledge, I’ve put together an NMA-exclusive, Matt’s Sure-Fire Ways to Botch a Stir-Fry:
- Use olive oil, which has a low smoke point, in order to force an evacuation of your kitchen when you crank up the heat in the skillet.
- Add minced garlic at the beginning with the oil, so that by the time you’re done, it’s a beautiful dark brown to light black color and tastes like death.
- Add soy sauce very early to a hot skillet, so that it burns, coats the pan in a weird brown crust, and smells bad.
- Use no seasoning other than soy sauce for a true flavor extravaganza.
- And my favorite: let your veggies get completely cooked before you add your sauce, even overcooked, so that in the additional minute or two with the sauce they become completely soggy and gross.
Keep those keys in mind, and you too can make a terrible stir-fry that nobody will want to eat!
In all seriousness, I really like this recipe because you don’t need to worry about any of that. The instructions are simple and it comes out great. Just follow the instructions and you can’t screw up. Well, maybe you can think of a way to. If you do, I’d love to hear about it!
Tempeh Stir-Fry with Black Bean Sauce Recipe
Ingredients (for four servings):
- 1 pound tempeh, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1 Tbsp black bean sauce (I used prepared, you could make it from scratch if desired)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) Peanut oil
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 small head of kale, leaves torn in half
- 1 small zucchini
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
- 1/4 pound sugar snap peas
- soy sauce to adjust flavor
- cooked brown rice (optional)
In a small bown, whisk together the cornstarch and vegetable broth, then add the black bean sauce and sugar and stir together. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over high heat (wait until it gets pretty hot), then add 3 Tbsp of peanut oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the tempeh cubes and let them brown for a few minutes, turning them quickly to let all sides touch the oil. Don’t let them burn, you really just need to heat them through. Move to a plate lined with paper towels.
Carefully wipe out the skillet (or heat another), return to heat and add the remaining Tbsp of peanut oil. Once it’s hot, add all the vegetables and red pepper flakes. Stir everything quickly through the hot oil for about three minutes, until they’re tender-crisp. Don’t let them get soft, or even all the way tender! Add back the tempeh and add the sauce from the bowl, then stir everything together for another minute. (If the tempeh starts sticking to the pan, enough already!)
Season with soy sauce to taste, and serve, optionally over rice.