With the winter weather still hanging on here in Ontario, I thought this would be a good time to post some tropical recipes to try to ward off the winter blues. So I bought myself a pineapple at a much higher price than I would usually be willing to pay, and I easily used it all up within a few days!
Most of that pineapple went into smoothies and a mini loaf, but the rest was used in this Indonesian-inspired stew from the Vegan Planet cookbook. The original recipe called for a mixture of tempeh and sweet potato simmered in a spicy tomato and coconut milk broth. I wanted to include a couple more ingredients to make the stew a bit more interesting, so I added pineapple and yellow beans, which I thought would go well with the other Indonesian flavours.
After tasting the stew, I was really glad I added the pineapple! The pieces of fresh pineapple were my favourite part of the dish, and they gave it a nice overall balance between sweet and spicy.
This was also the first time I've ever used tempeh in a recipe and I have to admit, I was a bit nervous when I first took the tempeh out of its package and cooked it - the smell was not very appealing and I didn't really like the taste of it plain. But all of my worries disappeared when I tasted the final product! I really liked the texture of the tempeh and the way it soaked up the flavours of the stew. I'm not really a fan of meat substitutes that taste or look a lot like actual meat, but with tempeh (which is made from fermented soybeans) I found that the taste and texture are more nutty rather than meaty, which I liked.
Overall, I loved the combination of flavours and textures in this stew, and it was the perfect mix of a hearty, warm stew for winter with notes of brighter tropical flavours. And don't leave out the finishing touches of the lime juice and cilantro, they really helped bring everything together!
Indonesian Tempeh Stew
Adapted from Vegan Planet
One 8 oz package tempeh
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
3 shallots, peeled and diced
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 small chili pepper, seeded and minced (I used jalapeno)
1/4 tsp chili flakes (optional if you like more heat)
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 cup water
1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes (or half of a 28 oz can)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (I used the kind from a carton)
1.5 cups chopped fresh pineapple
About 4 oz green or yellow beans, trimmed and cut in half
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Zest and juice of half a lime
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
First, poach the tempeh – place the block of tempeh in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and continue simmering for 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Cut tempeh into cubes.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tempeh and cook for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally to brown all sides. Remove from heat and set aside.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, chili pepper, chili flakes (if using) and ginger. Cover and cook until onion is softened, 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the sweet potato, water, crushed tomatoes and soy sauce. Cover and cook until potato is tender, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove lid and reduce heat to low. Add the coconut milk, cooked tempeh, pineapple, beans, salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes.
Add the lime zest and juice and cilantro just before serving. Garnish with additional cilantro and lime wedges if desired.
Makes 4 servings.