Tandoori skewers that are meat and dairy free? Though unusual, tempeh marinated in a mix of fragrant spices and coconut yoghurt is an absolute winner, and perfect for summer BBQ’s.
I had the most curious idea for a recipe pop into my head last week – tandoori tempeh! I couldn’t even remember the last time I ate tandoori – so I had to make a special visit to my local Indian store to ask what the non-negotiables were in terms of spices.
This is what I left with:
- A jar of organic tandoori masala (a fragrant combination of cumin, coriander, red chilli, garlic, turmeric, nutmeg, fenugreek and green cardamom)
- A jar of organic ground red chilli (for colour and spice), and
- A wee bottle of mustard oil (also for spice)
I already had dried fenugreek (methi), fresh ginger & garlic at home. Winning.
So that my friends is where a traditional tandoori ends. I kind of went a bit AWOL with the spices, adding extra cumin powder, coriander, smoked red paprika (purely for a more authentic colour), and ample lemon juice. Of course, I used coconut yoghurt in place of the dairy, and then to get even weirder – tempeh in place of chicken!
Ah, gotta love a little kitchen experimentation (and I have to say, holy wow – mind blown with the result! Just the right amount of heat in the marinade – flavoursome, smoky, tangy and vibrant).
[bctt tweet="Tandoori Tempeh! A meat & dairy free twist on the classic, find it here." username="laurenglucina"]
Now, after a few attempts at getting the tandoori marinade just right (again, it is just delicious), the trickiest part, unexpectedly, was working out how best to prep the tempeh.
I have come to the conclusion that thinly sliced, marinated and baked tempeh is far superior to grilling skewers, which are inevitably rather large cubes – otherwise they seem to crumble.
Furthermore, it appears that tofu is even more complementary to the tandoori marinade, as it seems to soak up the flavour a bit better. The only trick, is to use firm tofu, and perhaps press it under a weight to remove excess water if it still feels a little soft to work with.
Obviously, I’ve shot the skewered version of the tempeh here for this post – but I wasn’t about to cook it all from scratch again, as that would be just silly, wouldn’t it?
To make it a complete meal, I cooked up some long grain brown rice, then folded through some fresh, chopped coriander, adding a drizzle of olive oil and seasoning well. A no-fuss salad with avocado and a squeeze of lime to add some green, and a tablespoon of tangy sauerkraut for its beneficial bacteria.
All kinds of Indian-Indonesian-German fusion yumness!
I hope you enjoy the recipe – it’s fun and something different, and I think these would make a great, plant-based alternative to bring along to summer BBQ’s.
- ½ cup coconut yoghurt
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon tandoori masala
- 1 teaspoon dried fenugreek methi
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Ground red chilli to taste I used 1/18th teaspoon
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon mustard oil
- 1 block tempeh 250g OR 1 block tofu (275g)
- ½ cup long grain brown rice
- Fresh coriander
- Salad greens
- Olive oil apple cider vinegar, lemon juice to dress
- Blend all tandoori marinade ingredients together and transfer to a shallow dish.
FOR BAKED TEMPEH:
- Finely slice the tempeh, let it marinate for as long as you can in the shallow dish, then cover with foil, bake at 180˚C (356˚F) for 15 minutes, remove the foil and bake a further ten minutes.
FOR TEMPEH SKEWERS:
- If you want skewers, steam the tempeh for 5 minutes, then trim off the uneven edges. Cut into small batons and thread onto bamboo skewers that have been soaked in water for 15 minutes to prevent them splintering. Let marinate.
- Heat a char grill pan on the stove top, spray it lightly with olive oil, and cook the skewers on each side. This method looks great but I prefer thinner pieces of tempeh.
- Tofu is great baked or grilled. Choose firm tofu, drain it well, place in between paper towels and put a heavy weight on top to press out extra moisture (you can skip this part but it may just give a softer result). Let it sit like this for a couple of hours before use, then cut into cubes, let marinate and either bake or grill as above. Tofu is definitely my preference for this dish.
- Rinse the rice well under water then boil till cooked. Drain, transfer to a bowl and mix through chopped coriander, a drizzle of olive oil, squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper.
- Combine salad greens with avocado and simple dressing.
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