Tempeh Jalfrezi: Indian-Chinese Style Stir-Fried Tempe (Vegan)

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Deyana Goh
Deyana was born in Singapore and lives there. She is half-Chinese, half-Arab, with a grandmother who was born to an Arab family in Bogor, Indonesia. Deyana grew up eating Indonesian food as it is cooked in Arab-Indonesian households, and has fond memories of the festive whole chicken stuffed with lamb.

Tempeh jalfrezi is a spin on the popular Indian jalfrezi dishes. These are usually prepared using a variety of ingredients including chicken, mixed vegetables, etc. For this dish, I took inspiration from paneer (cottage cheese) jalfrezi. I replaced it with tempeh, which is an excellent vegan protein source and less fatty than cheese.

Jalfrezi, a dish originating in Bengal in India, is found in almost every North Indian/Mughlai restaurant around. It is an influence from Chinese cooking, as part of the cooking process involves stir-frying onions, capsicum, green chillies and other ingredients on high heat. You can serve it as a gravy, or cook it dry as well — this recipe is for the dry version.

Although the dish requires many ingredients, it’s not as time-consuming or tedious as it appears. You can buy some of the ingredients as powders off-the shelf at most Indian grocers. Most of the fresh ingredients are roughly sliced, which eliminates the painful process of finely-chopping stuff. All the ingredients, except for the tempeh, are readily available at Indian grocery or vegetable stores.

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This dish tastes very similar to any typical jalfrezi, except that it’s heavier, denser and has more heat. It’s a great, warming dish to enjoy when the weather is cold! You can eat it with steamed rice, or roti or other breads. 

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Tempeh Jalfrezi

Tempeh Jalfrezi: Indian-Chinese Style Stir-Fried Tempe in Thick Sauce (Vegan)

  • Author: Deyana Goh
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 3 1x
  • Category: Tofu & Tempeh
  • Method: Stir-fry
  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Tempeh jalfrezi is a modified version of the popular Indian dish paneer jalfrezi, except that it uses tempeh instead of cottage cheese as a source of protein with lower fat content.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 3 shallots, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch ginger, thinly sliced
  • ½ green capsicum, sliced
  • ½  tomato, finely chopped
  • ½ tomato, roughly chopped
  • 200g tempeh
  • 3 green bird’s eye chillies, sliced
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • Pinch of garam masala
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Pinch of turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Cut the tempeh into 1 inch cubes
  2. Fry the tempeh until golden, about 5 minutes and set aside (optional).
  3. In a separate pan, heat the 2tbsp vegetable oil on low heat. Add the cumin seeds until they start to sputter, about 2 min.
  4. Add the shallots. Fry till they turn  golden-brown, about 5-8 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and green chillies. Fry till fragrant, about 1 minute.
  6. Add the following: finely chopped tomatoes, tempeh, coriander powder, red chilli powder, turmeric powder. Stir fry for 5 minutes. Add a bit of water if it looks like it’s burning.
  7. Add salt and garam masala. Continue stir-frying for another 10 minutes. 
  8. Add all the remaining ingredients (i.e., red onion, ginger, green capsicum, roughly chopped tomatoes, coriander leaves) and cover the pan for 3 minutes.
  9. Remove the pan and stir-fry for another 2 minutes.

Tempeh Jalfrezi Dry (Vegan)


Notes

  • The tempeh is fried first and set aside, but this is mostly to make sure it doesn’t fall apart when stir-fried. If you want to make a healthier version, skip the frying – it tastes just as good.

Keywords: Tempe, capsicum, spicy, common ingredients

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