Tempeh and Bean Stir-Fry

2 eggplant, cut into cubes
vegetable oil
1 onion, cut into thin wedges
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons chilli paste (sambal oelek)
6 ounces tempeh, cut into thick slices
1 red pepper, sliced
2 tablespoons salted black beans, rinsed well, drained and lightly mashed
1/2 cup vegetable stock - purchased or homemade
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives

1 Place eggplant in a colander set over a bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Drain for 20 minutes. Rinse under cold running water and pat dry.

2 Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a wok over a high heat. Add eggplant. Stir-fry for 5 minutes or until golden. Drain on absorbent kitchen paper.

3 Heat a little more oil in wok. Add onion, garlic and chilli paste. Stir-fry for 3 minutes or until onion is soft. Add tempeh and red pepper. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes or until red pepper is bright red.

4 Stir a little of the stock into the cornstarch and mix to make a smooth paste. Whisk in remaining stock.

5 Return eggplant to pan. Add black beans and stock mixture. Cook, stirring, until sauce boils and thickens. Stir in chives.

Cook's tip: Tempeh is a soybean cake made from whole soy beans. The beans are steamed, soaked overnight, then compressed into slabs which are injected with a culture that causes fermentation. The finished product is covered with a soft white coating through which the whole beans can be seen. For this recipe tofu could be used instead of tempeh.

Serves 4

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