There are times when I need a break from my constant diet of pork fat and beer. Times when I think, maybe cookies are a sometimes food.
Usually, I wash my deep-fried oreos down with some soy milk and feel a little better about myself, but recently, I've been trying to incorporate some actual nutrients into my diet. I've long been curious about cooking with tempeh, and when I saw this recipe for Tempeh Rendang in the March issue of Cooking Light, I was downright intrigued.
I took a quick trip to the Bangkok Center Grocery on Mosco Street in Chinatown to pick up some fresh lemongrass, galangal, thai chiles, and kaffir lime leaves. If you've never been to this tiny store, I highly recommend it for fresh and packaged Thai ingredients. It is pretty small, but jam packed with food, just like me.
Now, this was my first time working with tempeh, so I wasn't really sure which one I should purchase. I thought tempeh was tempeh; I didn't realize there were so many different varieties out there. Being overwhelmed and slightly panicked that I was not fact in the comforting candy aisle, I grabbed the Garden Veggie variety and ran for my life, before the vegetarians in the aisle smelled the pork in my blood. Next time I make this recipe, I definitely will not use the veggie tempeh. The carrot and celery seed flavor was a bit too overwhelming for the curry. I recommend using plain ol' soy tempeh so the flavors don't compete.
This dish smells insane. Every single ingredient is fragrant on its own, but together they form Voltron in your nose. The coconut milk reduces, so you're left with more of a stir-fry than a stew. Add a little jasmine rice, some cilantro for garnish, and voila.
The one unexpected downside to tempeh is that it apparently makes me burp. A lot. Fermented soybean burps. I felt like Charlie in Willy Wonka after drinking Fizzy Lifting Drinks and having to release gas in order to prevent being chopped to little pieces (the fuel for so many of my nightmares as a wee krys).
Again, I won't use the garden veggie tempeh next time, but this was a very good basic rendang recipe. I would definitely try it with soy tempeh or maybe some chicken. Mmmm. The plus side is that after two hours of burping, you're ready for more delicious curry action.