Sticky tempeh, mango & lime noodle salad
- Preparation and cooking time
- plus marinating
- More effort
- Serves 4
Combining punchy flavours and contrasting textures, this special Asian salad is sure to be a hit with both vegetarians and meat eaters
- 400g tempeh (I used 2 x 200g Impulse tempeh – see tips)
- 3 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 5 tbsp dark soy sauce or tamari
- large thumb-sized piece ginger , peeled and grated
- 100g vermicelli rice noodles
- 25g coconut flakes
- sunflower oil , for frying
- 4 banana shallots , finely sliced and divided into rings
- 5 limes
- 5 tbsp clear honey
- 2 red bird's-eye chillies (deseeded if you don’t like it too hot), finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves , grated
- 1 large mango , peeled, stoned and cut into 1.5cm cubes
- ½ cucumber , halved lengthways, deseeded and sliced diagonally into 5mm-thick pieces
- 8 mixed radishes , thinly sliced
- small pack coriander , leaves picked
- STEP 1
Slice the tempeh into 7mm-thick slices and arrange in a single layer on a baking tray. Mix together 2 tbsp sesame oil, 3 tbsp soy sauce and the ginger in a bowl, then pour it over the tempeh. Get your hands in and gently coat the tempeh all over. Cover and set aside to marinate for at least 30 mins, preferably 2 hrs.
- STEP 2
Meanwhile, boil the kettle. Pop the noodles in a bowl and pour over enough just-boiled water to cover. Set aside for 10 mins, then drain and rinse under cold water. Tip into a bowl of ice-cold water and set aside.
- STEP 3
Heat a large frying pan and toast the coconut flakes until golden brown, then transfer to a bowl. Pour sunflower oil into the same pan, to about 5mm deep. Once hot, fry half the shallots, keeping the other half raw for the salad. It is best to fry in batches until golden brown and crisp – if you overcrowd the pan, the shallots won't crisp up. Remove using a slotted spoon, drain on kitchen paper and sprinkle with salt.
- STEP 4
To make a dressing, zest 2 of the limes and mix with the juice, the remaining soy sauce and sesame oil, 1 tbsp honey, the chillies and garlic. Cut the peel and pith from the 3 remaining limes, then segment each one and set aside.
- STEP 5
Heat 1 tbsp sunflower oil in a frying pan. Fry the marinated tempeh over a medium- high heat for 2-3 mins each side until well browned. You’ll need to do this in batches, adding more oil if needed. Remove to a plate. Spoon 2 tbsp honey into the pan, let it melt and start to bubble. Add half the fried tempeh slices, turn to coat in the honey, and cook for about 2 mins each side until dark and sticky. Repeat with the remaining honey and tempeh. Leave to cool.
- STEP 6
When ready to serve, drain the noodles really well and combine with the raw shallots, lime segments, mango, cucumber, radishes, and coriander. Divide the salad among the plates and arrange the tempeh slices on top, tearing a few of them in half. Drizzle 1 tbsp of the dressing over each plate and scatter with some toasted coconut and crispy shallots. Serve the extra dressing, coconut, crispy shallots and any tempeh in bowls on the table, letting everyone help themselves.
WHAT IS TEMPEH?
Like tofu, tempeh is a soya bean product. However, it is much higher in protein, fibre and vitamins, as it is created from whole cooked soya beans (whereas tofu is made from soya milk). Tempeh, which originated in Indonesia, is also fermented, making it more digestible. It has an earthy, nutty flavour and a firm, meaty texture, similar to mushrooms. Extremely versatile, tempeh can be grated, chopped or sliced, then steamed, baked or fried. I've found it tastes best when I marinate it, then fry it until crisp.
WHERE TO BUY TEMPEH
Choose organic tempeh to ensure that it is GM-free. Impulse tempeh (impulsefoods.co.uk) is available from planetorganic.com and other health-food stores, in the chilled section. It costs around £2.50 per pack. You can also buy tempeh in most specialist Asian food shops. It can be frozen for up to six months.
This recipe is all about the prep. Most of the elements can be made ahead, so you can bring the salad together in no time at all – great for entertaining. The day before, you can marinate the tempeh, toast the coconut flakes, cook the crispy shallots, make the dressing and segment the limes. You can also prepare the mango, cucumber and radishes, then store in sealable plastic bags.