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Monday, May 20, 2013

General Tso's Tempeh

I never knew the General that the chinese chicken dish was named after, but I would wager that he would really love the healthy tempeh version of the famous dish. I know my family does! My modifications to this classic dish include not only eliminating animal products of chicken and egg, but also the cornstarch (no doubt GMO), gluten, (from soy sauce), the MSG traditionally used, and of course all excess fat and cholesterol has been eliminated, since cholesterol only is found in animals!  I chose organic, sprouted tempeh from Wildwood to further increase nutritional benefits. Fermented organic soy has an occasional place in the vegan diet, I believe. Fermented soy (such as tempeh, miso, and natto) are actually good for you in moderation, contrary to all of the misinformation out there about soy. According to Natural News, in their natural form, soybeans contain phytochemicals with toxic effects on the human body. The three major anti-nutrients are phytates, enzyme inhibitors and goitrogens. The soybean plant is especially rich in these chemicals. If they are not removed by extensive preparation such as fermentation or soaking, soybeans are one of the worst foods a person can eat. Fermentation destroys the toxins present and makes the nutrients in the beans available to the body.  During the Ming dynasty, fermented soy appeared in the Chinese Materia Medica as a nutritionally important food and an effective remedy for diseases eaten in small amounts.
I hope you will give this a try, it is simple to make and so packed with flavor! I don't like spicy food as a rule, and this dish has just enough heat to kick it up a notch without being 'hot'. I would call it mild, but if you leave the seeds in the peppers, you can increase the heat according to your own taste. 

1 pkg. *organic tempeh, preferably sprouted if you can find it
1 head of fresh broccoli or 16 oz. frozen broccoli, thawed
2 cups cooked **organic or imported brown rice
4 dried poblano peppers, cut or torn into bite size pieces
4 green onions sliced thinly
Marsala wine for sauteing
1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and diced
4 tsp. arrowroot
3 Tbsp. **organic rice vinegar
6 Tbsp. vegan sugar
6 Tbsp Bragg Liquid Aminos
Sesame seeds for garnish

1. At least 2 hours in advance, cube or thinly slice the tempeh and place in a medium bowl filled with filtered water or vegetable broth, and keep in the refrigerator. This will soften and plump the tempeh as it expands from it's tightly pressed state.(If you absolutely must rush the process, steam the tempeh for 15 minutes in lieu of a couple of hours in the fridge, the results are not the same but yield a more tender tempeh).
2. In 1/4 cup wine (or veggie stock) saute the tempeh over medium heat until slightly brown on all sides.
3. Add the broccoli and poblano peppers and saute approx. 8 minutes, until broccoli is bright green, adding more wine if needed. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
4. In small saucepan, saute the garlic and ginger in marsala wine 4-5 minutes.
5. While ginger/garlic is cooking, combine in a small bowl the rice vinegar, 4 Tbsp. wine, and the arrowroot and whisk thoroughly. Add to the ginger and garlic.
6. Add the sugar and Bragg, stirring constantly over medium heat until thick.
7. Pour over the tempeh and broccoli and stir. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
8. rve over the cooked rice garnished with green onions and sesame seeds.

* your tempeh absolutely must state either ORGANIC or NON-GMO, you do not want to fill your body with Roundup and genetically modified mystery dna, which 90% of this country's soy contain thanks to Monsanto! Read more here
** your rice and rice vinegar must state ORGANIC if it is domestic; or read carefully to make absolutely sure it does not come from the U.S. All domestic non-organic rice contains arsenic! See more here!

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~ Shelley