Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Simple green salad with crispy tempeh chips

Like many people my first taste of tempeh was not a pleasant experience. It took me a few years of being vegetarian to psych myself up to taste it again. The next time I braved it, I quite enjoyed it and since then it has grown on me and become a somewhat regular part of my diet. 

Tasting it in Indonesian, where tempeh originates from,
certainly helped. The comparison between Indonesian tempeh or tempeh made in the traditional unpasterised method is barely comparable to pasteurised versions you find in supermarkets and some health-food shops. Tempeh made in the traditional style is far superior in taste & texture as well as the health benefits.

Soy's key benefits are related to its excellent protein content, its high levels of essential fatty acids, numerous vitamins and minerals, its isoflavones, and its fiber.
Soybeans are regarded as equal in protein quality to animal foods. Just 4 ounces of tempeh provides 41% of the Daily Value (DV) for protein for less than 225 calories and only 3.9 grams of saturated fat.
Only 4 ounces of tempeh provides 24% of the Daily value of Riboflavin (B- Vitamin). Riboflavin is also a cofactor in the regeneration of one of the liver's most important detoxification enzymes, glutathione.
Tempeh also has a generous amount of magnesium, providing 22% of the DV. Magnesium is Nature's blood vessel relaxant, in just 4 ounces. In addition to its beneficial role in the cardiovascular system, magnesium plays an essential role in more than 300 enzymatic reactions, including those that control protein synthesis and energy production.
In that same 4 ounces of tempeh it will give you 73% of the DV for manganese and 31% of the DV for copper. These two trace minerals serve numerous physiological functions including being cofactors for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase.

So tempeh is good for you and can be so tasty.

There are a few recipes where tempeh really shines and bring life to a dish certain dish. It think this crispy, tasty version with a simple green salads is quite a nice introduction. Being small, thin, and fried in salty tamari (Japanese wheat free soya sauce) helps the introduction to be gentle and eases the new initiate in gracefully!

Stay tuned for more tempeh recipe in the coming months!

Makes enough for 4-6 people
To make the salad you will need:

375gm pkt unpasterised tempeh (if you can get it), cut in thin slices and little squares
A large salad bowl full of fresh crisp lettuce (any combination or favourite will do - I personally love the gentle bitterness of black elk & sweet cos lettuce together -see the photo)
2-3 medium sun-ripe tomatoes, diced
1 medium purple onion, finely sliced
2x medium lebanese cucumber, thinly sliced in half moons

* avocado adds a nice creamy texture to this crunchy, and salty fried flavors

Combine all the salad ingredients in a bowl.

Shallow fry the tempeh chips in a little coconut or sunflower oil until lightly golden on each side. Then add a splash of tamari (wheat-free soya sauce) and watch it sizzle and evaporate, turning each chip so that it gets evenly coated with the soya sauce and forms a salty crispy outer edge. Allow it to cool slightly before adding to the salad.

Scatter on top on the salad and serve.

Tip: You want enough tamari to light coat each chip in tamari but not too much so it's too salty. This can be achieved according to personal taste.

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