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Posted on Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 4:10 a.m.

Indonesian Tempeh - give your family a healthy but delicious break from rich holiday foods

By Peggy Lampman


Indonesian Tempeh

Peggy Lampman | Contributor

The new dinnerFeed site has just been launched! Click here for a collection of well-tested recipes - dozens perfect for holiday entertaining. A "Print-Recipe Only" function and speedy search engines make finding recipes a cinch!

I'm steering far from sage, gravy and poultry with this recipe. There's a nod to the season with sweet potatoes, but it ends right there.

Purification seems in order after last week's Bacchanalian orgy. Either a dish made with tempeh or tofu, both members of the soy family, sound like an appealing recipe tonight.

Tempeh, an Indonesian staple made from fermented soy beans, is an inexpensive protein — a delicious textural component in this recipe paired with vegetables and sweet potatoes in a savory curried coconut sauce.


The fermentation process that creates tempeh breaks down the soybeans, making them more digestible than tofu for some folks. Tempeh also outshines tofu when it comes to protein, fiber, minerals and fiber.

Many versions of tempeh may incorporate whole grains, lentils and herbs. Grain tempeh varieties are fine but avoid pre-seasoned tempeh in this recipe — I used a three-grain tempeh which was delicious.

If tempeh's not your soy of choice for dinner, my less-heady recipes for Tofu with Bok Choy or Baked Tofu with Colorful Vegetables may be your ticket.

Yield: 4 servings
Time: 40 minutes


2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil 8 ounces (unseasoned) tempeh, cut into 3/4-inch cubes 1 large sweet potato, diced into a 1/2-inch pieces
2 assorted colored peppers, halved, seeded, membranes removed, sliced
1 tablespoon garlic
1 (13-14) ounce can coconut milk
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 tablespoons tamari or shoyu
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
Chopped hot chili peppers or red pepper flakes, optional


1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the tempeh over medium heat until lightly browned, about 8-10 minutes. Add sweet potato and sautée an additional 10 minutes. 2. Add additional 1 tablespoon oil to pan and sautée the peppers, and garlic and onion for five minutes.
3. Whisk together coconut milk, curry and tamari and add to the pan. Stir, cover and simmer 10-15 minutes, occasionally stirring, or until sweet potato is fork tender. Stir in basil and season to taste with hot chilies, if desired.

My new web site (packed with holiday recipes) is up (! I'm a real-time food writer and photographer posting daily feeds on my website and in the Food & Drink section of You may also e-mail me at