Sweet and Sour Lemongrass Tempeh




  • 2 tbsp tamarind purée (see NOTES)
  • 2–3 tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • 300g packet tempeh, cut in half lengthways, thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, finely chopped (see NOTES)
  • 2 tbsp muscovado or coconut sugar or soft brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce
  • Sea salt and ground white pepper
  • Cooked jasmine rice, sliced bird’s eye chilli, coriander and Thai basil leaves, to serve


Combine tamarind puree with 1/3 cup (80ml) water and stir until fully incorporated.

Heat 1–2 tablespoons of the coconut oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add tempeh (perhaps in 2 batches, depending on the size of your pan) and fry for 2–3 minutes each side until golden. Transfer to a plate, wipe out the pan with paper towel and add remaining
1 tablespoon coconut oil. Stir-fry onion, garlic, ginger and lemongrass for 2–3 minutes until tender and golden.

Return tempeh to the pan along with the sugar, tamarind liquid and soy sauce. Cook, stirring, until liquid has reduced to a glaze and is coating the tempeh. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with rice, chilli and fresh herbs.

Tamarind purée can be bought but I make my own from blocks of tamarind pulp; simply break off a chunk, rip it into little pieces and add enough boiling water to just cover. Leave for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up the pulp. Tip the lot into a sieve over a bowl and press the mixture through with a metal spoon, scraping tamarind purée off the underside of the sieve as you go. Discard the seeds. You want it to be about the same consistency as tomato ketchup, so add a little extra water if needed. This can be stored in the fridge for 4-5 days or frozen in ice-cube trays. Once your block of tamarind pulp is opened, store it in a zip-lock bag in the fridge, where it will keep indefinitely.

Keep the green tips of the lemongrass for making tea (simply steep in boiling water). You can finely chop the white part in bulk and freeze for later use.


Wine match, 2015 Soul Deans Riesling
A dry style Riesling with fresh acidity balanced with a lovely mid palate.
With lime and fresh herb notes followed by a crisp mouth watering finish, this Riesling is beautifully matched with the sweet and sour flavour of the tamarind.