Tempeh and Pumpkin Penang


I found fresh tempeh in the Asian supermarket yesterday for just over a euro. Tempeh is fermented soya bean curd and they use it a lot in Indonesian cooking. It makes a nice change from tofu as it has more texture and really crisps up when fried. It also takes on the flavour of the sauce it is cooked in really well.

This curry is influenced by Thailand, Burma and Indonesia. It is made with a homemade paste but you could buy a Thai yellow curry paste and add some fresh spices in the cooking to liven it up. Bought curry paste is very salty and needs sugar to be added to the curry to get the right flavour.

The finished dish should be thick with the sauce coating the tempeh and pumpkin. It is quite rich so I made a Thai inspired salad to go with it.


The curry paste

Two sticks of lemon grass

Four cloves of garlic

Two thumbnails of ginger

A handful of fresh coriander- if you can get a bunch with the roots on then use only the roots and stems, save the leaves for later

Five small Thai chillis

A teaspoon each of whole cumin and coriander seeds

The curry

Half a small pumpkin chopped into small chunks with the skin left on

A small packet of tempeh but you can use tofu

250ml of coconut milk

A handful of toasted peanuts ground to a fine powder in the coffee grinder

2 big chunks of galangal, a whole black cardamom pod and a star anise

Salt to taste


A small handful of fresh coriander and fresh Thai basil plus 2 fresh kaffir lime leaves to garnish

Make a paste with the first set of ingredients. I do this by first using the food processor and then transferring it to a coffee grinder to get it smoother. Add a few drops of water to get it moving.

Cut the tempeh into small cubes or slices and fry in a tablespoon of oil on a low heat for about ten minutes, turning it until it is brown on all sides. Remove from the pan. Fry about half of the curry paste for a few seconds and then add all of the coconut milk and the pumpkin. stir through before adding back the tempeh. Add the galangal, cardamom and star anise. Simmer with a lid on for about 20 minutes until the pumpkin is just soft. Add salt to taste and then stir through the ground peanuts. You may need to let it down with a little water at this point if it is too thick. Stir through some finely chopped coriander and, if you can get it, Thai basil leaves and very finely shredded kaffir lime leaves.
I served this with red rice.

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