Aug 202012

I’ve been making this for a while now and can’t remember how / where I pieced it together. I am fairly certain I got the idea from browsing several food blogs, recipe sites, and cookbooks. All I know is that my current “recipe” consists of my hand-written notes scrawled in pencil on an A5 piece of scrap paper, which a magnet holds to the hood of my stove…. and I use this “recipe” fairly regularly. 

This is hands-down my favorite way to cook tempeh — at least that I have discovered so far. In fact, it’s so good, that I made it again today — and I had just made it on Saturday! There are many, many ways you can adapt this recipe, and I daresay I hardly ever cook it the same way in back-to-back uses. I’ve included adaptations in parentheses.

Please note that the amounts are approximate. I don’t ever measure anything when I make this — I just have everything out and I toss it in as I’m ready. 


  • 100g (1/4lb) tempeh, diced into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 medium sweet potato, diced into 1-inch cubes (regular potatoes also work well; or omit altogether if you don’t have any on hand) 
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced finely (if you have no garlic, or you’re not a garlic fan, use garlic or onion powder, but add it with the other spices below)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or Earth Balance, and another 1-2 tablespoons reserved
  • 1-2 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (light soy sauce or tamari also works well)
  • 1 teaspoon dried red chilli pepper, or to taste (use cayenne or Tabasco if that’s what you’ve got — can even use a fresh pepper if you want some serious zing!)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2-3 teaspoons smoked Spanish or Hungarian paprika — very important that you use the smoked version! 
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (this is optional but trust me it is SO much better with it)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 100g spinach or other quick-cooking greens (optional)
  • 1/3 cup of cooked beans (optional — any kind will do: cannellini, kidney, black-eyed, pinto, I’m sure even lentils would be great!)


  1. Fill a small saucepan with water and set it on high heat. Add a dash of salt and the potatoes. When it reaches a boil (5-7 minutes), check the potatoes to see if they are fork-tender. Drain and set aside. Note: If you’ve not yet steamed the tempeh, it’s a good idea to do this at the same time! Put the tempeh (whole, uncut) into a steamer or collander and set on top of the saucepan. Cover and when the potatoes are done, your tempeh is probably steamed enough, too.
  2. In a wok or large frying pan, heat the first tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onions; stir constantly for 1-2 minutes, just until you can smell the garlic, being careful not to burn it. 
  3. Add tempeh to the frying pan, along with the Bragg’s / soy sauce and the dried chilli pepper. Stir-fry 2-3 minutes, or until the tempeh soaks up the Bragg’s and begins to brown nicely.
  4. Add cooked and drained potatoes; stir and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add paprika and cumin (if you are not using garlic but have garlic or onion powder, add it here, too). Stir to evenly coat all of the tempeh and potato bits. Add more of either spice if you like it strong! 
  6. Stir in nutritional yeast and reduce heat to medium-low. Note: nutritional yeast will thicken this substantially. At this point, add another splash of olive oil, particularly before or at the next step. You may need it for the spinach, too. 
  7. When everything is coated in nutritional yeast, add the spinach. Stir to evenly wilt spinach. Note: If you are using a heartier green such as bok choi or chard, you may wish to add even more olive oil and cover the pan for 2-3 minutes. 
  8. Just as the spinach is wilting but before it is completely cooked, add the beans. Stir a few times to heat through, and remove from heat. 

Serve hot out of the pan! 

Serves 2 on its own, or 4 if you add toast and fruit for a full brunch spread!

Jan 112010

I have tried to cook versions of Indian dahl on more than one occasion and they usually turn out bland and blah — clearly, I have not gotten the spice combination correct. Until now! It is, hands down, the best recipe for dahl I have had! I even think it's better than some I have eaten in restaurants, if I may say so myself.

Most of this recipe was adapted from Lisa's Kitchen, but I made some adjustments after reading a recipe on a message board, and in a cookbook, Ayurvedic Healing Cuisine. I share it here not as my own, but as something compiled and recreated. The adjusted lentil recipe is vegan and gluten-free. It also uses brown rice syrup in place of refined (simple) sugar, which is healthier and better for your metabolism because it is a complex sugar.

This recipe yields a rather spicy version. As it was cooking I was a bit worried that it would be too spicy even for me (and I am very tolerant) but once the sauce mixed into the lentils it turned out to be perfect. However, if you're not big on heat, cut back the cayenne and fresh chili pepper considerably — or serve with lots of raita or yogurt. One thing – the asafetida will really stink up your kitchen. It is strong and pungent, so turn on the fans and open the window.

Spicy Indian Green Lentils

1 cup green lentils, soaked 4 hours or overnight
2 tablespoons safflower oil

½ medium onion finely chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 teaspoon of mustard seeds (yellow or black)
2 teaspoons of cumin powder
1 ½ teaspoons of sea salt
¾ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon of asafetida*
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 – 2 hot red or green chilies, depending on your tolerance (I used 1 rather large jalapeno)
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup of brown rice syrup (you could use brown sugar or jaggery)
1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
1/2-1 teaspoon of yellow curry powder (curry leaves could also be used)

Put soaked lentils in a medium-sized saucepan and cover with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are very soft and tender — roughly 20-30 minutes.

In a frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the mustard seeds and cook until they begin to sputter and pop. Add the cumin, salt, cayenne, asafetida and turmeric, stir and immediately add the tomatoes, chili pepper, sugar, cilantro, and curry. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has a sauce-like consistency — roughly 10 minutes.

When the lentils and peas are done, mash a portion of the legumes with the back of a spoon. Add the sauce in the frying pan to the lentils, cover and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so.

Serve with white or brown basmati rice, and some raita or yogurt on the side.

Yields 4 servings.

*Asafetida (sometimes written asefoetida) is a very pungent powdered gum resin with an oniony- garlic flavor. You can find it in Indian or health food stores, or in the spice section of your supermarket. To substitute, you may use garlic or onion powder.