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Japanese Style Tempeh with Noodles and Cheats Kimchi

This dish is not only a feast for the eyes, it’s delicious, combining the deeply savoury tempeh and zing of pickled red cabbage. It’s also clean, really healthy and vegan. Tempeh is a fermented soya product that uses the whole soybean, unlike tofu. As it uses the whole bean it has a higher protein and fibre content.

There are quite a few components here, but it’s very easy to prepare and quick to cook. You can pickle the red cabbage well in advance if you like. Pickling is traditionally used as a way to preserve food, so it will last a good month in the fridge, probably longer.

Ingredients

1 pack of noodles. I have used soba rice noodles which have the added bonus of being gluten free, but egg noodles work just as well.
1 pack of tempeh, cut into 5mm thick slices
Arame seaweed (optional). This is a dehydrated seaweed. You only need a pinch per person. It adds a lovely salty dimension to the noodles.
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks, as thin as you can.
Something green. I have used broccoli florets, but shredded kale, sliced sugar snaps or monge tout would be perfect too. If you can find samphire (maybe in a fishmongers shop) this would also work really well with the arame.
1/2 red cabbage, shredded as thinly as you can. A mandolin would work very well
250g rice wine or white wine vinegar. I always weigh liquid, rather than try to measure in a jug as I find it much more accurate.
250g caster sugar
500g water
1 star anise
1 tbsp black mustard seeds
1 cinnamon stick
3 tbsp soy sauce (gluten free if required)
1 red chilli, deseeded, grated or very finely chopped.
1/2 thumb of ginger, peeled and grated.
1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
1tbsp sesame oil

Instructions

1
To make the pickled cabbage, add the caster sugar, vinegar and water to a saucepan and bring to the boil gently, stirring frequently so that the sugar dissolves. Add the cinnamon, mustard seeds and star anise whilst the liquor is heating. Place the shredded cabbage in an airtight sealable container, then pour the liquor over. Leave to cool with the lid off. When cool, you can store in the fridge for at least a month, provided you do not introduce bacteria into the pickle, so no fingers to be used! Always use a clean metal slotted spoon or tongs.
2
For the noodles, soak the arame in tepid water for ten minutes to rehydrate. Cook the noodles as directed by pack instructions. Add the veggies to the water for last minute of cooking. You're just blanching them, rather than cooking them to preserve their crunch and goodness. Drain and toss together with a good glug of sesame oil. Scatter with the toasted sesame seeds.
3
For the tempeh mix the grated chilli and ginger with the soy sauce and some sesame oil. Heat a pan on a medium high heat, add a little sesame oil and the tempeh. Cook for a minute each side or until the turn golden. Pour in the soy sauce mix and cook for a further minute. Remove from the heat and serve immediately with the noodles and kimchi.

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