This is a wonderfully sweet and nutty flavored dish. The tempeh and buckwheat noodles lend to nuttiness and the marinade that was inspired by Nigel Slater gives to the sweetness.
I happen upon Nigel’s website and found this recipe for a marinade that he uses and thought it would make for a nice tempeh stir fry. I added the tamari and red pepper flakes for my own taste and just pretty much used the ratio of mirin to maple syrup from his recipe as a guide.
You could possibly even add some grated ginger or garlic too. I was really happy with the outcome and the way everything came together in taste, color and textures. It’s a simple dish that delivers in flavor, protein and other healthy nutrients that we can all use more of!
Now, let’s talks about mirin for a moment.
I’ve had my eye on recipes containing mirin, but was so turned off by the product because I didn’t research online first to find out more about it. Instead, while at the grocery store I made my assumption from the first bottle I picked up and happily put back because it contained corn syrup and other ingredients I prefer to stay away from. Months later I finally find there is a big difference in the way mirin is prepared.
The real deal mirin, like the one pictured above, is a traditionally brewed rice cooking wine that doesn’t contain added sugar or synthetic enzymes. It’s also known as Hon-Mirin. Very commercial brands use corn syrup and preservatives and are known as Aji-Mirin. They may have their reasons for using corn syrup and preservatives but I will choose the ones that are free of these ingredients. Be sure to read the labels and find, Hon-Mirin, as it will give you the best flavor and add luster to your dishes.
Here’s a little article from the New York Times about mirin for further reading: Searching For The Real Mirin – Catching an ElusiveJapanese Flavor
If you can’t find this type of mirin in the store, you can order it online or you can substitute with dry sherry or sweet marsala if you must. Alternately, you can dissolve a small amount of pure cane sugar in a little white wine or sherry, about 1/4 teaspoon of sugar to 1/4 cup wine. These are clean substitutes for hon-mirin.
Mix your marinade in a large bowl and add the tempeh, let set for 1 – 4 hours at room temp. Reserve the marinade.
Bake your tempeh. I know what your thinking, this is a stir fry! Well, you’ll just have to trust me. :)
A note about tempeh: Tempeh is one of those soy products that is good for you and can be eaten in moderation, a couple times a week. Tempeh is fermented and holds all kinds of healthy attributes along with 13 – 16 grams of protein per serving.
Dice your veggies of choice, these just happen to be on hand from my last recipe. Feel free to use whatever vegetables you like, have handy or need to be used up. Other options are bell peppers, broccoli, sugar peas, zucchini…these are what come to mind in a pinch but use whatever your preference is or sounds good.
The veggies will be stir fried, or sauteed, until al dente or your choice of firmness and then mixed with the soba noodles if using those. (My favorite wok is the el cheapo carbon steel wok for around $20! It heats up quickly and cools down quickly so your food cooks just right and stops cooking when you remove it from the heat. Just be sure to season your wok well. Here’s a great article on the subject: When Cheaper is BetterPrint
MIRIN & MAPLE TEMPEH STIR FRY
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 25 min
- Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
- Yield: Serves 2 - 3
- Category: Entree
- Cuisine: Vegan
- 8 oz package tempeh (I used a five grain tempeh)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil, coconut oil or olive oil
- 1/3 red cabbage, thinly sliced
- 2 -3 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced diagonally
- 2 -3 scallions, thinly sliced
- sesame seeds, garnish
- cilantro, garnish, optional
- 8 oz. package soba noodles, rice would be fine too (I ♥ these 100% buckwheat noodles)
- 1/3 cup mirin
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons warm water
- 2 tablespoons tamari, bragg’s aminos or soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
In a large bowl, mix together the marinade, add the tempeh and let set for 1 to 4 hours at room temp, turning every so often. Reserve marinade for later.
When ready, turn oven on to 400 degrees. Bake tempeh on a cookie sheet or in a baking dish for 25 minutes, turning once half way through.
Cook your soba noodles according to package. 100% buckwheat noodles take 8 minutes to cook while the wheat and buckwheat soba noodles only take 4 minutes to cook. Drain and rinse well under cool water. Set aside. If using rice, cook about 1 dry cup and set aside.
In a wok or large saute pan, heat oil and add your cabbage and carrots, cook for about 3 minutes, add scallions, a spoonful of marinade and cook another 2 minutes or until desired firmness (I like mine al dente). Add in the soba noodles and cook for another minute or so until soba noodles are gently warmed.
To serve, place noodles (or rice) and veggies in serving bowl and top with a few strips of tempeh. Add a few large spoonfuls of marinade over the noodle/veggie mixture and tempeh, top with sesame seeds and a few extra scallions.
Serves 3, but more likely 2.