Friday, November 22, 2013

Tempeh & Vegetable Stir-Fry

In our household, my husband does all the stir-frying, so I felt a bit intimidated taking on the "Tempeh & Vegetables Stir-Fry" (page 295). Since I rarely even attempt stir-frying, I worry about ruining the dish, and I also have my husband's high standards to live up to, as he is The Stir-Fry King in our 5th Wheel Palace! But I am happy to report that I made this dish quite successfully, and even got rave reviews from the resident expert. The key to success in a stir-fry dish is to have all the ingredients chopped and ready to go before ever turning on the fire under the wok or skillet. In this case, the ingredients consisted of cubed tempeh, broccoli, red bell pepper, mushrooms, garlic, green onions, and ginger. It does take a while to prepare all the ingredients, since the broccoli is pre-steamed, and the tempeh is cooked in simmering water for 30-minutes. Once the tempeh has been simmered, it is cubed, coated with cornstarch, and browned in a skillet. At that point, assuming you've prepared all the rest of the ingredients, the dish goes together in a flash, as is customary for this style of cooking. I browned the tempeh cubes in a non-stick skillet without oil. This works just fine, but don't expect to the end result to be as crispy or brown as something browned in oil. Once all the veggies and tempeh have been steamed, simmered, and stir-fried, they are topped with a flavorful sauce of mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil, and crushed red pepper. The recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of sesame oil in the sauce, but you can get away with much less and still get the essence of that distinctive flavor; or omit it altogether if you want, and it will still be very good. In this case, I used ½ teaspoon of sesame oil. I served this colorful, spicy, and delicious stir-fry over steamed rice.
Keeping it "McDougall Friendly" checklist:

ü Omit the oil when "browning" the tempeh cubes; you can do this successfully in a non-stick skillet, although the tempeh will not come out quite as crispy or browned.  

ü If using sesame oil in the sauce, reduce to just ½ teaspoon - or leave it out altogether.

ü Omit the oil when sautéing the veggies. Use a nonstick skillet or wok, and substitute the oil with water, broth, or sherry. I used sherry in this dish and it provided excellent complementary flavor.

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