The chilly autumnal temperatures may have you longing for a warmer climate. However, if you lack the time and/or money for an impromptu tropical vacation, this zesty dish is the next best thing. It’s exotic, inexpensive, and incredibly easy to prepare. Our sweet-and-sour recipe calls for diced tempeh, rather than meat. It’s vegan, gluten-free, and filling! Tempeh is packed with protein, calcium, and vitamins and has a subtly nutty flavor that will please your taste buds. The addition of coconut oil enhances the tropical flair. Here’s how to get the feel of the islands without leaving your kitchen:
2 tablespoons tamari (not commercial soy sauce, which contains wheat)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup rice vinegar
¼ cup ketchup (get a good organic variety, and check label to make sure there’s no soy sauce)
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
½ cup water
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 8-ounce packages of tempeh
1 large green, red, or yellow pepper
2 cups fresh pineapple chunks (not canned!)
5 cloves fresh garlic
½ red onion
Cooked basmati or jasmine rice
Combine tamari, cornstarch, rice vinegar, ketchup, turbinado sugar, and water in large bowl and stir briskly until thoroughly combined. If you like your dish sweet, add a little extra sugar. If you like it sour, add some extra rice vinegar. Set mixture aside.
Slice tempeh into thin strips, then quarter each one. Cut onion into thick strips and dice pepper and pineapple into chunks. Chop garlic cloves into small pieces. Place tempeh, onion, pepper, pineapple and garlic into large frying pan and fry in coconut oil on medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Tempeh and vegetables should be slightly browned, but not burned. Add more coconut oil to pan if necessary.
Pour liquid mixture into the pan and combine with the other ingredients. Sautee for another 3-5 minutes, stirring thoroughly. Be careful not to overcook. Al dente is better than mushy. Your kitchen will be awash with the sweet aroma of the coconut oil. When tempeh, vegetables and pineapple are done, remove pan from stovetop. Serve your fragrant mixture over heated jasmine or basmati rice. Some gluten-free wine or beer goes great as an accompaniment.
This incredible dish serves 4-6 people, depending upon everyone’s appetites. It’s a crowd favorite. Your friends and family will clamor for more. If you have leftovers, they keep well in the refrigerator and can be served either cold or reheated. Enjoy!