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Recipe: Sweet and Salty Fried Tempeh (Tempe Me Goreng)

Back in December I spent some time in Bali, Indonesia, and the food was fantastic! I’ve never seen such an amazing raw, vegan and gluten free scene. Not even in NYC!

One of the local dishes I tasted that I really enjoyed was a fried tempeh. For those of you unfamiliar with tempeh, it’s a fermented soy product native to Indonesia, but also widely consumed by vegans and vegetarians in the states as a protein or meat substitute at times.

I couldn’t get enough of this tempeh, it was sweet, salty, spicy and crunchy. I mean, what more is there to ask for? And, as luck would have it, I took a cooking class at the amazing Paon-Bali and this dish was on the menu. This dish traditionally uses sweet soy sauce, which is not gluten free, but in the class they had us substitute the sweet soy sauce for palm sugar syrup. If you have palm sugar syrup lying around, give it a try! For this recipe, I substituted the sweet soy sauce/palm sugar for coconut aminos and brown rice syrup.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Sweet and Salty Fried Tempeh

2 packages tempeh, thinly sliced*
1/2 cup + 2 tbs refined coconut oil, separated
5 red chilies**, seeds removed, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 shallots, thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 tbs kefir lime leaves***
3 tbs brown rice syrup
3 tbs coconut aminos or 2 tbs tamari (adjusted to taste)

*While not super important, the type of tempeh you use matters. If you’re new to tempeh, don’t worry about it, but if you’re familiar with tempeh and different brands, try to choose a softer variety. I’ve found that the whole grain ones are firmer, thus don’t work as well. The tempeh in Indonesia is very soft (and white!), the closest I’ve seen here is Barry’s Tempeh.

**if you can’t find red chilies, you can use whatever you can find locally, just adjust depending on your desired level of heat, the red ones are relatively mild.

***I use the jarred ones from Whole Foods, it’s difficult to find fresh kefir lime leaves. If you can’t find the jarred ones, you can use 1 tsp lime zest.

Procedure:

  1. Heat 1/2 cup coconut oil in a wide saucepan or wok.
  2. Once hot, place about 1/3 of the tempeh in the pan, you don’t want to overcrowd the pan. You can deep-fry the tempeh or pan-fry the tempeh, up to you. Both ways work well, I just prefer not to use so much oil since it ends up in the trash. To deep-fry, make sure the oil is deep enough that the tempeh is entirely covered. To pan-fry, use less oil and wait until the tempeh is cooked on one side, and then flip. In either method, wait until both sides of the tempeh are slightly brown (burned tempeh tastes icky) and remove with a slotted spoon.
  3. Continue until all the tempeh has been fried.
  4. In a separate pan, heat 2 tbs coconut oil. Once hot, add the garlic, shallot, chilies and scallions. Cook 3-5 minutes, until slightly browned, then add the kefir lime.
  5. Add the tempeh to the pan, along with the coconut aminos/tamari and brown rice syrup. Stir so the tempeh is well coated.
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Enjoy!!

Fried sweet and spicy tempeh

A version with jalapeno and thai chili and no scallions. Feel free to experiment!

 

 

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curry green beans

Recipe: Curried Coconut Green Beans

I have the privilege of working at one of the best places I could imagine, the Natural Gourmet Institute (NGI). I had been having a one way love affair with them since 2003, when Kathryn Bari, a graduate and chef, had me fall in love with healthy food. So, you can imagine how happy I was when I started working at NGI last year. It felt like everything was coming full circle.

The food at NGI is spectacular, but sometimes the recipes require more time, energy and ingredients than I really want to deal with. It’s great for special occasions, when I’m cooking for a client, or when I really want to treat myself, but sometimes I want a similar dish without all the frills.

When I tried Chef Rich’s Curried Coconut Green Beans dish, I was hooked. It was so flavorful and satisfying. I’ve made it over a dozen times since, and I’m very happy with my alterations to the recipe. Enjoy!

Curried Coconut Green Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 lb green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds, if you have them
  • 1 tbs curry powder, divided
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 jalapeno or thai bird chili (if you like heat)
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1/2 tbs minced ginger
  • 3-4 fresh curry leaves if you can find them
  • salt to taste

Directions

  1. Heat coconut oil in a large wok or saute pan.
  2. Add the mustard seeds and wait until they pop, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  3. Add the curry leaves, shallots and hot peppers if you’re using them. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the curry powder and ginger, and cook an additional 30 seconds.
  5. Add the green beans, and cook to your liking. About 5-7 minutes.
  6. Once the green beans are tender, add the shredded coconut and stir to coat the green beans.
  7. Cook until heated through. Adjust salt and curry powder to your liking.
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Fig energy bites

Recipe: Fig Energy Bites

I first made these divine energy bites with Mickey, the creator of the AutoImmune Protocol. I was surprised at how just a few ingredients could pack such a flavor and texture punch. Since making the original recipe, I’ve experimented with adding additional spices and using different dried fruits.

Apricots are a perfect variation to this recipe. You could use half figs and half apricots, or do one batch with figs and another with apricots. You’ll never get bored! Cardamom also tastes great with these. It’s one of my favorite spices and I definitely add it to anything sweet that I make. Like cinnamon and vanilla, it adds a little extra sweetness without any sugar. Cinnamon and cardamom are also good for digestion. Cardamom is said to help eliminate gas and bloating, while cinnamon helps us digest fats by increasing enzyme activity in our bodies. Cinnamon may also lower blood sugar and it’s anti-inflammatory. Now that’s as good a reason as any for adding cardamom and cinnamon to our food!

These energy bites are also great for a quick snack, dessert or pre-workout treat.  Hello versatility! There’s lots of good fat in them from the coconut oil, and fiber from the dried fruit and coconut. The combination of fiber, fat and sweetness will help keep you satisfied longer without spiking your blood sugar (I’m sure we’re all familiar with the quick surge of energy we get after eating something sweet, that’s followed by the strong desire to take a nap).

Fig Energy Bites

INGREDIENTS

2 cups shredded coconut (unsweetened)
2 cups dried figs (unsweetened and unsulfered)
1/3 cup coconut oil
a pinch of salt
a dash of cinnamon and/or cardamom
1/4 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well combined. Make sure to remove any pits, seeds or tough stems from the figs or apricots. Roll into balls and store in the fridge. Because of the coconut oil, energy bites kept in the fridge will have a creamier texture. Room temperature energy bites will be a little more oily.

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Recipe: Chickpea Soup

Chickpeas were always a staple in my family. The first thing I learned how to cook on my own was roasted chickpeas with cumin, salt and olive oil. I guess I did inherit some of the habits and tastes from the Moroccan side of my family!
In the last year, my dad found a chickpea soup that he just loves. It seems like he’s made it almost every time I go to visit. It’s very basic, just chickpeas, onion, rosemary and lemon. I decided to add my own flare to it with more veggies and greens.
For those of you who follow my posts, you know I’m not that into recipes. I like to work with what I have, what looks good in the market, and I tend to measure by eye. That said, someone on Instagram (hi Yogacheeks!) asked that I post a recipe for the soup after posting this photo. So here it goes!
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*Note* This recipe uses dried chickpeas. It makes the soup really rich and creamy because you’re basically making stalk while cooking the beans. However, this takes a longgggggggggggg time, so feel free to sub in canned chickpeas and start at step 7.

Chickpea Soup with Spinach, Cauliflower, Tomatoes and Herbs

Ingredients
  • 4 cups dried chickpeas
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon
  • 1 carrot, grated or cut into small pieces
  • 1 tomato (fresh if in season, canned if not)
  • 1 small head cauliflower (about 2 cups)
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Preparation
  1. Soak the chickpeas overnight.
  2. Drain them the following morning, add the baking soda and leave for 1 hour.
  3. Rub the chickpeas in your hands or with a towel to remove the skins.
  4. Rinse the chickpeas very well 4 or 5 times.
  5. Put chickpeas in a pot and add just enough water to cover the chickpeas.
  6. Bring to the boil, removing the froth at the top with a wooden spoon just before they come to the boil. Boil for 15 minutes.
  7. Drain the chickpeas and then put them back in the pot with more water (cover them by about 2 inches). If you are using canned chickpeas, this is where you start.
  8. Bring to a boil, add grated onion, carrots and rosemary and simmer for about 1½ hours (30 minutes if canned) or until they are really tender – don’t let them get dry and add water if necessary.
  9. Add cauliflower and tomatoes when the chickpeas are soft, cook for 5 minutes, then add the spinach.
  10. Whisk the olive oil with the lemon juice together and add to the chickpeas.
  11. Simmer for about another 5 minutes and then serve.
  12. Add salt and pepper to taste and add any fresh herbs you have on hand (cilantro, parsley, basil or chives would be amazing).

Enjoy!

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quinoa tabbouleh

Recipe: Quinoa Tabbouleh (gluten free and vegan)

Tabbouleh is a traditional Middle Eastern dish made with bulgar wheat. You may have had it in Turkish restaurants, or seen it at Costco (my mom got a big tub of it for her 60th birthday party yesterday!). But, if you or your guests/friends/family are gluten-free, bulgar wheat is a no no. Quick fix? Switch out the bulgar for quinoa and you have Quinoa Tabbouleh! Honestly, I never liked tabbouleh before making it this way. If you’ve never had it, give it a shot. You can also make it your own by adding in the type of herbs that appeal to you. I personally love the mint, I think it really brightens up this dish.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 cups of flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mint, chopped
  • 1/3 cup scallions, sliced
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes (about 3 cups), halved
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 small cucumbers (Persian or English are best because they have less seeds), diced

Directions

  1. Cook quinoa with ½ tsp salt and two cups water. Bring to a boil then lower heat and cover for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it sit, covered, for another 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork.
  2. Mince the garlic and put it in the lemon juice to sit. Chop the herbs, scallions and the rest of the ingredients.
  3. When the quinoa is done, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 3 tablespoon of lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Toss to coat the grains.
  4. Add the rest of the herbs and vegetables to the bowl along with 1 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Mix and adjust seasoning

Happy Eating!

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zaalouk eggplant and tomato dip

Recipe: Zaalouk: Eggplant and Tomato Dip/Spread

10/30/2013

Yesterday I had some people over for lunch and one of the things we made was zaalouk, a traditional middle eastern eggplant and tomato dish. It has all but 5 ingredients (not including olive oil and a few spices) and is super easy to make. Feel free to be inspired and add any other types of herbs or spices you like!

Zaalouk Eggplant and Tomato Spread

Ingredients
1 eggplant
4 plum tomatoes*
1/3 cup olive oil
1 lemon
1/3-1/2 cup cilantro depending on how much you like it
1/3 cup water
3 garlic cloves
1 tbs cumin
1 tbs paprika
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne if you like some heat

Directions
1. Slice the eggplant in half the long way and roast it at 400 until it’s soft (about 30 minutes).
2. Separate the flesh of the eggplant from the skin and rough chop it.
3. Mince the garlic, chop the cilantro and dice the tomatoes.
4. Heat pan with the olive oil. Saute the garlic in the oil for a minute or so and then add the eggplant flesh (discard the skin… or compost it if you’re cool like that), the tomatoes, cilantro, spices and water. Cover the pan and lower the heat to medium.
5. Check on the pan every once in a while to make sure there is enough liquid, you can also stir it around and help mash it together. Leave it covered and cooking for 25-30 minutes.
6. After 25-30 minutes, take off the cover and continue to let the mixture simmer if it is too liquidy. Add lemon juice and any additional salt and pepper.

*I’ve had some people reach out who can’t eat tomatoes. If you’d like to try a version of this without tomatoes, use pureed roasted red peppers.

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sweet potato soup

Sweet Potato Soup

Last month I hosted a dinner party for my dearest girlfriends. One of the most popular recipes from the night was my simple sweet potato soup. I love this soup because it is creamy without any dairy, and the sweet potatoes are extra delicious and nutritious right now because they’re in season. This soup is rich enough that you could eat it on its own for a light dinner. It’s also vegan, vegetarian, paleo, gluten-free and has no added sugar. Delicious and good for you? That’s a win win! Stay tuned for more of my favorite recipes in my upcoming ebook, Loving Your Leftovers!

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup

1 yellow onion, diced
1 tbs coconut oil
4 medium sized sweet potatoes, roasted or baked (about 4 cups)
1 tbsp ginger, minced
½ tsp garam masala spice mix
1 can coconut milk
2 cups water

  1. Heat oil in pot. Add onion and saute for 5 minutes, until translucent.
  2. Add minced ginger and cook additional 2 minutes
  3. Rough chop the sweet potatoes (you can leave the skin on) and add to the onion and ginger. Save time by baking a bunch of sweet potatoes in the beginning of the week and using them for different meals. You can also store them in the freezer.
  4. Add the coconut milk, water and garam masala*. Bring to a simmer, then lower heat.
  5. Cook for ten minutes on medium low heat.
  6. Blend the soup and adjust seasoning.

*garam masala is an Indian spice mix and happens to be one of my favorites. It usually has a mix of black pepper, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and clove. Every mix of garam masala is different, which makes it kinda exciting! Feel free to omit if you can’t find it, or just add a spice you like.

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