Sticky Ginger Tempeh with Coconut Rice

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Serves 2 generously


Coconut Rice
1 cup full fat coconut milk
1 cup water
1 teaspoon palm sugar*
sea salt, to taste
1 cup brown basmati rice, thoroughly rinsed
½ teaspoon lime zest
1 teaspoon lime juice

225g block of plain tempeh, cut into 1 inch slices
¼ cup tamari – if you are subbing with soy we would water it down a bit otherwise it will be very salty
3 tablespoons palm sugar*
1 tablespoon hot sauce/paste of choice, we used gochujang  (optional)
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 coconut oil or other heat-tolerant oil
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
10g (about 2 inches) fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
Tbsp  toasted sesame seeds


This recipe combines savoury, salty tempeh with creamy, zesty brown rice. The steaming step is a cool trick for helping reduce the bitterness some people experience with tempeh. Plain rice is one of the most superior foods on earth and a noble accompaniment to this dish; however, making it with coconut milk and lime zest takes those humble grains to another world. This recipe is by Laura Wright – she’s got lots of fab vegan recipes on her website!


Sticky Ginger Tempeh with Coconut Rice

First make the coconut rice. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the coconut milk, water, palm sugar, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring a few times to dissolve the sugar. Add the rinsed brown basmati rice to the saucepan and stir. Bring the coconut rice up to a boil, lower the heat to a very slow simmer, and cover the saucepan with a lid. Simmer for 40 mins (NO PEEKING) until almost all of the liquid is absorbed. Turn off the heat.

Add the lime zest and juice to the coconut rice and fluff/lightly stir with a fork. Return the lid to the pot and let it sit on the warm stove for 3-4 minutes, or keep warm until ready to serve.

In the meantime make the sticky ginger tempeh. Cover the bottom of a medium skillet with water and place it on the stove over medium heat. Once it’s simmering, add your tempeh slices and cover. Steam the tempeh for 10 minutes. Remove the tempeh from the skillet with tongs and place it on a plate to cool. Rinse the skillet and wipe it out. You’ll be using it to finish the tempeh.

In a small bowl, whisk together the tamari, palm sugar, hot sauce, and lime juice. Set aside.

Pat dry the steamed tempeh with a clean tea towel, then crumble it into little pieces.

Return the skillet to the stove over medium-high heat. Pour in the coconut oil and swirl it around. Add the tempeh to the skillet and stir. Sauté the tempeh until the pieces are lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes. Season the tempeh with salt and pepper and stir. Add the ginger and garlic to the skillet and stir until quite fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Pour the tamari mixture into the skillet and stir, scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the skillet with a spatula if necessary. Keep cooking the tempeh until the sauce has caramelized slightly and turned deeper brown, about 6-7 minutes. Check the sticky ginger tempeh for seasoning and then adjust if necessary (more salt, pepper, hot sauce, lime etc).

Serve the sticky ginger tempeh hot with coconut rice, sliced spring onions, toasted sesame seeds and perhaps some steamed veg?


Hints and Tips

*palm sugar has a mild but distinct flavour that really marries well with the flavours in this dish. You can buy it at most supermarkets, we recommend going to your local Asian grocer if you have one. If you can’t find it then brown sugar or coconut sugar would work too.



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  1. I prepared this dish tonight. I highly recommend the sticky ginger tempeh, it was delicious. We haven’t stopped talking about it and my partner wants to make another serve for tomorrow night’s dinner.

    1. This is so lovely to hear Ruth – we’re glad you and your husband enjoyed the recipe 🙂

  2. my partner made this dish for me tonight and although her culinary skills are usually lacking this dish was amazing !!! i think i will consume 5 times a week !!
    We ate this dish on the couch with a glass of verve in hand and we watched ex on the beach, what a treat!!!! its bee an amazing night thanks to this dish !! i think somethiing might get a little sticky later !! thnkyou ruth !!

    1. Haha! We’re thrilled it was a hit with you both – tempeh and ex on the beach what a great night in!

  3. I made this for my sister and brother in law, it was their first time trying tempeh and they loved it! Thanks for the recipe!