If you've been following along (or know enough about me), you know that I love me some tempeh (pronounced tem-pey. As in Peyton Manning. Oof, bad example). Anyways, It's a permanent fixation of mine, which you can read on and on about from my previous post here. I typically always have some stored away in the fridge for when I feel creative in my cooking endeavors. There's so much that you can do with this stuff and I always enjoy pairing it with different ingredients every time I have it, because heightened flavors truly do come through.
Well, the simple dish that I made the other night was like therapy for my tastebuds. I'm a huge admirer of curry spices, especially in the colder months because they make me feel all kinds of warm and toasty. And I happened to have this Bangkok spice blend in the pantry as well, completely unopened, so I thought "why not." By mixing these two spices together in a pan with some olive oil as a marinade for the tempeh, the result was extremely satisfied tastebuds. It's certainly a recipe that I'll be playing around with again. I might even be able to convert a non-tempeh enthusiast with this one.
And why call them curried tempeh croutons? I sautéed the tempeh in a pan to the point where it was crispy enough that I felt comfortable calling them such, and also because that's exactly what I think they look like on this salad. Protein packed croutons, at that.
The only unfortunate part is that the miso ginger dressing that I drizzled so generously on top of it is something that I do not have the recipe for. It's a dressing that I now crave almost every single day from my local grocery, Ellwood Thompson's. I asked them if I could please take some home with me and they went out of their way to make it happen. While this dressing is indeed a special one, any other miso ginger dressing that you stumble upon should do. You may even already have a favorite. And if you are in the Richmond area, then please, I beg you, go try this dressing from their salad bar.
So if you've had a bad experience or two with tofu, don't throw tempeh out the door just yet. Pull out those spices that are lurking in your pantry (or go get yourself some) and give this fun little recipe a try. I think your palate will be very pleased.
Curried Tempeh Croutons
Serves 1-2 (if you are very hungry like me, then this serves 1, generously)
3 oz. tempeh (I prefer Lightlife, and typically use their flax kind in all my recipes - 1 package does the trick)
1 tsp Bangkok spice blend (which is a blend of "sweet peppers, garlic, ginger, black pepper, galangal, hot peppers, lemon grass, basil and cilantro" - so if you cannot find this blend anywhere, then I suggest combining a bit of whatever you do have on hand, like garlic powder, a dash of cayenne, black pepper, ground basil, etc. OR you can just up the amount of curry powder)
1 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tbsp miso ginger dressing
1 large handful of spinach leaves (opt for organic if you can)
pinch or two of sea salt
1. Place a skillet on the stove and turn heat to medium/high. Drizzle in the olive oil.
2. Cut the block of tempeh into cubes, as shown above.
3. Once the pan has had time to heat, toss in the tempeh and sprinkle with spice blends.
4. Use a wooden spoon to sauté the tempeh around in the pan, coating it well with the oil and spices. Let the cubes set for a bit and then use the wooden spoon to flip them onto the other side and let them set again. Continue to do this until a crisp edge forms around the tempeh cubes.
5. Once crisp enough, remove the pan from the heat.
6. Fill a medium bowl (or two if sharing) with a generous handful of fresh spinach leaves and then place the tempeh croutons on top.
7. Drizzle the miso ginger dressing on and then sprinkle with a pinch or two of sea salt and enjoy!
Cheers to the new kind of croutons. And the search for the best Bangkok spice blend around.