tempeh with shoyu butter with cabbage and sesame seeds

Heidi Swanson’s recipe is inspired by a tempeh dish she ate at a small café in Tokyo, during one of her travels to Japan.

By: Anna Decker / 09/04/2015

Tempeh, traditionally from Indonesia, is made with fermented soybeans. These protein-packed cakes have an earthy flavor that really shines when quick steamed. Plus, the ragged surface of cabbage and tempeh nicely catches a delicious and slightly sweet shoyu butter sauce. We added a steaming bowl of rice to soak all of those delicate flavors. While Heidi uses “shoyu,” Japanese for soy sauce, we’ve chosen tamari as a gluten-free friendly sauce. Relax, cook and enjoy!

What you’ll need:

1 cup sushi rice 8 oz organic tempeh 3 tablespoons salted butter 3 tablespoons tamari 2 tablespoons brown sugar 1 small savoy cabbage 2 scallions 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds


small saucepan large pot steamer basket large skillet

Recipe steps:

  1. Cook rice

    Rinse rice until water runs clear. Add to a small saucepan with 1 ½ cups water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and keep covered until serving.

  2. Slice and cook tempeh

    Over low heat, fill large pot with ½-inch water, add steamer basket and cover. Slice tempeh into three squares. Halve each horizontally to form thinner slices. Cut each piece in half in triangles. When water is simmering, add tempeh to steamer basket. Steam for 10 minutes.

  3. Prepare vegetables

    Quarter cabbage and remove core. Slice into ¼-inch ribbons. Trim root ends and tips of scallions and thinly slice.

  4. Make sauce

    Meanwhile, in a large skillet combine butter, tamari, and sugar over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until thickened, about 3 minutes.

  5. Cook cabbage

    Stir in cabbage and 1 teaspoon salt and sauté until cabbage starts to collapse, about 4 minutes.

  6. Finish

    Add tempeh and toss gently until coated, about 1 minute. Divide rice among bowls, top with tempeh, cabbage and sauce. Serve sprinkled with sliced scallions and sesame seeds. Enjoy!

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