Meatless Mondays #27 – Miso barley risotto with tempeh and tofu

Why waste time while waiting for public transport to be on time? I spent it on thinking of recipes and dishes that I wanted to cook or test on the weekends. And sometimes, I spend time daydreaming that I am in South of France, visiting the countryside and not a care in the world. This was one of the dishes that I concocted while I was packed into the train as usual, like a sardine.

Barley risotto with tempeh

Barley risotto with tempeh

Thinking is very different from doing. Does using mirin and sake make this dish Japanese? Hell no! Mister and I loved the pumpkin, carrot and barley risotto that I made awhile ago. And risotto is such a typical vegetarian fallback dish. There is almost always a vegetarian risotto dish in many Italian and Australian restaurants and cafes. Do you agree? Anyway, back to the recipe. There are many little steps involved but it all comes together quite nicely at the end. Try to use organic tempeh and tofu if possible.

Organic tempeh and tofu

Organic tempeh and tofu



  • 250g of white pearl barley
  • 150ml of sake
  • 2-3tbsp of light soy sauce
  • 2tbsp of mirin
  • 2l of vegetable stock
  • 11/2 tbsp of miso paste
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 medium size onion, diced
  • 4 sticks of small carrots, diced
  • 1 cup of green peas
  • Salt


  • 500g of tempeh
  • 3tbsp of mirin
  • 3tsp of light soy sauce


  • 375g of tofu
  • 50ml of light soy sauce
  • 2tsp of brown sugar
  • 100ml of water
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely sliced
Cooking barley

Cooking barley


  1. Cube the tempeh into 1cm cube sizes or smaller. Marinate the light soy and mirin and refrigerate overnight. Also soak pearl barley overnight
  2. Heat up the vegetable stock. Add the miso and stir still dissolve
  3. Add the onions and chopped celery to hot oil and saute till onions are translucent. Add the barley. Stir it around and then add sake to deglaze and coat the barley.
  4. Once the sake has mostly evaporate and soaked into barley, add 2 big scoops of miso vegetable stock. It will bubble and then absorbed quickly by the barley. Add about 1 litre of the stock, turn down the heat to a low simmer with the lid on. Check after 20mins. If there isn’t enough liquid, top up and then allow it to simmer for another 15mins. Add the carrots at this point.
  5. Use a small flat pan. Turn the tofu sideways and slice into 4 even pieces lengthwise. Prepare the tofu by first saute the garlic in gentle heat with olive oil. Not browning them too much, add water and light sauce and bring it up to a gentle boil. Add the tofu pieces, do not over cramp. Do it in batches if required. Spoon the dark mixture over the top of the tofu to cook it evenly. It should be ready in about 3-4mins. Reduce the sweet and salty sauce a little
  6. On another small pan, heat up a little oil and add the tempeh pieces to brown. Be careful not to burn it. Have to watch it closely. Set aside when cooked
  7. The risotto should be ready for 35 – 40mins. It should be like a thick porridge consistency. Scoop out onto a bowl. Add some cubed tempeh and topped with chopped parsley if desire. Serve with the soft silken soy tofu on the side
Barley risotto with sweet tempeh and soy tofu

Barley risotto with sweet tempeh and soy tofu

The tastes are really subtle. The tempeh really drank up all the light soy and mirin overnight. The dark sweet and salt liquid from the tofu can be used to drizzle over the risotto to lift the dish up. I think it turned out ok and the flavours did come together. I will definitely make this again and try and improve on it.

How do you overcome stress on public transport?