Peppery Tempeh Skewers w/ Vermicelli & Cucumber Salad

by Trudy ~ Veggie num num on November 30, 2010

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Peppery Tempeh Skewers w/ Vermicelli & Cucumber Salad

Well here we are back in sunny Brisbane and wow what beautiful coolish summer weather it is for this time of year in South East Queensland. As much as we miss New Zealand it is wonderful to be back in Australia and I’m really excited to start cooking and sharing food with family and friends again and here on Veggie num num too!!

We are super lucky to be temporary living right next door to Cam’s lovely parents so I figured we should whip up a veggie recipe that would be great to cook on the BBQ and that we could all enjoy. There is nothing more Australian than a summer BBQ and these Peppery Tempeh Skewers are perfect for a casual lunchtime or evening meal with family and friends.

The Asian fusion flavours work wonderfully with the crisp salad accompaniments and make great vegetarian entertaining food. For a warm dish you could serve the tempeh sticks with a big bowl of rice and Asian greens instead.

Lay all the accompaniments out on the table and allow people to make up their own lettuce cups with the noodles, cucumber salad and peppery tempeh, so good!

Preparation time: 45mins
Serves 4 as a main 6 as an appetizer

  • 12 bamboo skewers
  • 600g (21oz) tempeh
  • 3 tbs peppercorn medley (I used a mixture of black, green, pink and Szechuan peppercorns)
  • 1-2 tsp rock salt
  • 4 tbs apricot or plum jam
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 limes, zest & juice

to serve

  • 1-2 baby cos lettuce
  • 200g (7oz) vermicelli (bean thread) noodles

Cucumber Salad

  • 1 continental cucumber, finely sliced
  • 2 large tomatoes, finely sliced
  • ¼ cup raw cashew nuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbs fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbs basil or Thai basil, roughly chopped
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • 1-2 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tsp raw sugar

Peppery Tempeh Skewers w/ Vermicelli & Cucumber Salad

Soak the bamboo skewers in plenty of water for about 15 minutes, set aside.

Place a dry frypan over a medium heat, add the peppercorns and cook tossing frequently for a few minutes until the peppercorns are fragrant.

Using a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle grind the peppercorns and rock salt until fine.

Add the salt & pepper mixture to the jam, garlic, soy sauce, lime juice and zest in a large bowl; combine to form a sticky paste. Crumble the tempeh into chunks and toss through the marinade.

Thread the chunks of tempeh onto the bamboo skewers and place side by side in a sealable container, pour over remaining marinade and cover with the lid. Place in the refrigerator for 15-30mins until you are ready to BBQ.

To make the cucumber salad combine the lime juice, sesame oil and sugar together in a small bowl. Arrange the cucumber and tomato on a platter or in a large bowl. Sprinkle over the chopped herbs and cashews, drizzle over the dressing and toss gently to combine. Keep cool in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Prepare the vermicelli noodles according to the packet instructions, rinse well under cold water, drain and chop into 5cm/1inch pieces.

Wash the baby cos well, remove the steams and break the lettuce into individual lettuce leaves; arrange in a large bowl. Set aside both the noodles and lettuce cups in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Heat the grill or BBQ to a medium-high heat add the tempeh sticks and cook, turning often for 5-10 minutes until cooked through and slightly blackened on the edges.

Serve the tempeh skewers with accompaniments allowing everyone to make up their own lettuce cups. To eat remove the tempeh pieces from the skewers and adding a small amount of cucumber salad, noodle and tempeh at a time, roll up individual lettuce cups and enjoy!!

For a warm dish serve the tempeh skewers with steamed rice and Asian green vegetables.

Peppery Tempeh Skewers w/ Vermicelli & Cucumber Salad

This vegetarian recipe was adapted from Vietnamese Peppery Chicken found in Easy Good Food by Clare Ferguson.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Jasmine November 30, 2010 at 6:09 pm

Yum! these look delicious! So nice to read summertime recipes!

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets December 1, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Those skewers look awesome and very meatlike. I haven’t loved tempeh so far but I’m always ready to give it a second chance when I see a great recipe.

Jennifer (Delicieux) December 1, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Welcome back to Brisbane :D

The skewers look delicious. As does the salad. Yum! Looks like an all round delicious bbq.

Nadia December 2, 2010 at 9:04 am

Absolutely delicious! I love lettuce cups, they are so fresh. This cucumber salad is a favorite of mine!

chow vegan December 3, 2010 at 5:59 pm

Wow! That looks beautiful! such a nice presentation! I love food on a stick. :-)

Catherine December 5, 2010 at 4:00 am

These look so delicious! I’m moving to Brisbane in the next month or so with my veggie partner… and we’ll be living with his entirely veggie family… so I really need some kitchen inspiration! I’ll be following this blog closely… it could make me or break me with the in-laws! It’s nice to meet you in the virtual kitchen.
- Catherine at The Spring

Trudy (veggie num num) December 7, 2010 at 10:41 am

Hi Jasmine, glad you like the look of these :)

Thanks for your comment Xialou, these skewers definitely are`meatlike` and are a super tasty way to enjoy tempeh, the recipe makes the most of its unusual texture.

Hi Jennifer, thank you :) It’s good to be back!

Thanks Nadia, lettuce cups are a favourite of mine too :)

Thanks Chow Vegan, food on a stick is always good right :D

Hi Catherine, lovely to meet you too! I hope you’ll find plenty of inspiration for great veggie meals to share with your family here on Veggie num num :)

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