Meatless Day #19 – Spiced tempeh and curried tomato sauce

Meatless Day Challenge

I had a conversation with a meat lover just this weekend and was asked why the hell do I want to do this meatless day once a week. Both of us will usually eat quite a fair bit over the weekend and a meatless day is always welcomed. I try to make it the healthier option. And the other reason is to learn about flavour. It isn’t easy just whipping up a vegetarian meal without the use of animals fats. And it is nonsense to think that vegetarian food is boring and tasteless. In actual fact, they are quite the opposite when done properly and well.

Many times, I will just take the meat out of the recipe but good and delicious vegetarian does require more thinking and more flavour combinations. So this week, I thought I had to try a little harder. I bought fresh organic tempeh from the farmers market and had in my mind to make use of bold spices to kick some life into this piece of tempeh. It is an acquired taste. Or maybe the texture that some people may find a little disturbing.

Fresh tempeh

Fresh tempeh

A colleague of mine given us 2 bottles of home made passata recently. I know it is Italian but basically it is also tomato sauce which means I can change the flavour by adding spices to it.





  • 225g of fresh tempeh, organic if possible
  • 1/2tsp of grounded ginger
  • 1/2tsp of grounded cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of brown sugar
  • 3/4tsp of paprika
  • 1/2tsp of all spice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 shallot
  • Salt & pepper

Tomato sauce

  • 125ml of tomato sauce or passata
  • 125ml of leftover mixture of water and tempeh marinate
  • 1tsp pf curry powder
  • 1tsp of paprika
  • Salt
Spicy paste

Spicy paste


  1. Use a fork to poke holes into the tempeh. Cube it into 2cm size pieces. Blend or pound all the spices together. Taste and adjust salt seasoning. Pour marinate into bowl of tempeh and combine well. Place in refrigerator to marinate for at least an hour or overnight
  2. Heat up the pan with oil. Pan fry the tempeh pieces. Need to keep watch to avoid tempeh getting burnt. Set aside
  3. Pour the passata and leftover tempeh mixture stock into the pan. Add the curry powder and paprika
  4. Add the tempeh back and allow it to simmer in low heat for about 8 minutes
  5. The sauce should thicken. Serve with fresh baby cos that acts as a edible spoon or even have it with steamed rice
Tempeh with spiced tomato sauce

Tempeh with spiced tomato sauce

Spicy tempeh and tomato on babycos

Spicy tempeh and tomato on babycos

It is quite refreshing to have it with baby cos. It is not too spicy and provides a nice gentle heat. The tempeh is super fresh and still quite creamy inside. It took the spicy flavours very well and went well with the curried sauce. Instead of baby cos and if you wanted something more substantial, have it with steamed rice or even simple garlic fried rice.

What will you cook for your vegetarian friend?