Tempeh is fermented soybeans, and many people consider it to be even tastier than tofu. It’s generally easier to cook with too. You can find it in Chinese supermarkets, online and in health food stores, or you can use seitan or tofu instead.
200g tempeh, seitan or firm tofu
2 tbsp vegetable oil
250g bok choi leaves, halved lengthways
Handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
2 spring onions, sliced
For the maple and orange glaze
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
2cm fresh ginger, finely grated
1 clove of garlic, crushed
½ red chilli, deseeded and finely diced
3 tbsp tamari
2½ tbsp maple syrup
Zest and juice of ½ an orange
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
For the miso noodle broth
135g soba noodles (if you can’t find these, rice noodles are often vegan, and some varieties of wheat)
1 tablespoon tamari
1 star anise (optional)
3½ tbsp brown rice miso
Drain the tempeh, dry and press out the excess liquid with kitchen paper. Warm the sesame oil in a small pan and add the ginger and garlic. Fry for a minute, then add the rest of the glaze ingredients. Slowly bring to a boil, then gently simmer for 5 minutes. Add the tempeh and cover. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes to an hour. If you really can’t wait, ten minutes will do.
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan, and when hot add the tempeh, keeping the marinade. Fry for around 2 minutes, adding the marinade gradually until the glaze becomes sticky – this should take around 10 minutes. Set aside, cover and keep warm.
Cook your noodles according to the instructions on the pack. Drain, reserving about 500ml of the water, then keep the noodles warm in a bowl, stirring in a little oil.
Pour the noodle water back into the pan, put back on the heat and add the tamari and star anise. Put the miso into a small bowl and mix in a couple of tbsp of the warm water. Add this paste to the pan and keep covered, simmering the broth on a low heat. The flavour should be strong – add more tamari and miso if needed.
Heat ½ tbsp oil in your frying pan and add the bok choi. Cook for 2 minutes on a high heat, then add 3 tbsp of the miso broth and continue cooking for 1 more minute. Bring the broth to a slow boil. Divide your noodles between warm bowls, top with bok choi and ladle over some of the broth. Then stack on a pile of tempeh, topped with some sliced spring onions and a scattering of fresh coriander.
From the book Peace and Parsnips by Lee Watson.