Courgette Puree, Fried Tempeh and Grilled Polenta
Courgette puree, fried tempeh and grilled polenta is an example of a complete plate. We have protein in the form of tempeh, grilled polenta provides carbs, and we have cooked and raw vegetables. Seeds add crunchiness and essential fatty acids, whilst parsley adds vitamin C. Normally I would not have both a fried as well as grilled food component on a plate, so this is a little indulgent. Every now and then this is okay, but I try to reserve that for colder days.
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1/2 courgette, diced
- 2 inch piece of white radish (daikon)
- 3 juniper berries
- 2 bay leaved
- 2 tbsp vegan cream
- umeboshi seasoning
- soy sauce (unless the tempeh is already marinated or otherwise flavoured)
- piece of ginger (optional, no need to peel)
- 1 clove garlic
- oil for frying
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 garlic clove
- First cook the polenta, so it has time to set. There are different grades of polenta and the cooking time depends on the coarsness. Just follow the instructions on the packet. You can do this even a day ahead, or just an hour or so before.
- In the meantime, prepare a shallow baking dish or tray and rinse with water (being slightly wet will help with getting the set polenta out).
- When the polenta is cooked, spread it on the prepared tray and let it cool and set.
- If the tempeh is not marinated, marinate it next. Mix together 4 tsp soy sauce with 100 ml water. Cut the tempeh into slices. Arrange it in a smaller saucepan and pour the marinade over it. Add thinly sliced garlic and ginger, if using. Let it stand.
- In the meantime, chop the veg for the puree.
- Sauté the onion with a pinch of salt until translucent, then add the rest of the veg. Add the spices (you can use a tea strainer to save yourself the need to fish them out later).
- Add a little stock (just to barely cover the veg) and simmer till tender.
- In the meantime, also simmer the tempeh in the marinade for a few minutes. If you have a flavoured tempeh, skip this step.
- Prepare the marinade for the polenta. Crush the garlic and mix with the oil and soy sauce.
- Preheat oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Once the polenta is set enough so that it can be cut and is solid, cut it into desired shapes (such as triangles), and lay on the baking sheet. Spread all the marinade on it and bake for 15 min or so till slightly crispy.
- In the meantime, heat a little oil in a pan and lightly fry the marinated pieces of tempeh.
- Once the vegetables for the puree are ready, take out the spices and blend everything smooth. The easiest is to do this with immersion blender. If it's too thick, add more stock. Add some vegan cream and adjust the taste with umeboshi seasoning.
- If you are in a hurry and you have not prepared the polenta a day before, you can speed up its setting by cooling it down quickly, either in a fridge or freezer, or in a sink with some ice around the dish etc.
- This dish would also work with dumplings instead of polenta.