{Recipe} Tempeh and Potato Curry with Spiced Brown Rice


This curry features tempeh, white potatoes, basil leaves, garlic, tamari, coconut cream, and curry powder. It isn’t vibrantly colourful or photogenic like last week’s recipe –Rainbow Salad – but I believe it is just as delicious.

The quantity of curry powder listed in the recipe achieves a ‘kid-friendly’ spice level. By all means, up the ante if you prefer a spicier curry (like I do!).


If you don’t like tempeh, use firm tofu instead (read on to discover why I should have taken this ‘advice’). Seitan-lovers may prefer to use seitan in place of tempeh.

You could use diced carrots instead of cauliflower – carrots would certainly add some colour to the dish. (We are the proud recipients of two whole cauliflowers, so considerations of colour and visual appeal took a ‘backseat’ to that reality when preparing this meal.) Purple cabbage would be a good substitute for green – it is certainly more visually pleasing.

I have included a recipe for Spiced Brown Rice. This rice is subtly flavoured with cardamon, cinnamon and a bay leaf. Ground turmeric gives the rice a light yellow tone.


Tempeh and Potato Curry

Serves 5 – 6


500g/17oz organic tempeh, cubed (I use Nutrisoy brand)

2 cups cubed white potatoes (I leave the skin on)

1 cup finely shredded green cabbage

1/2 cup small cauliflower florets

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped or torn

1 1/2 Tbsp curry powder (I used a Sri Lankan dark roasted curry powder)

1/2 tsp turmeric (if your curry powder does not contain turmeric)

1 tsp sugar

2 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce

400ml/13.5 fl oz coconut cream or coconut milk

3/4 cup water + 1/4 tsp vegetable stock powder OR 3/4 cup vegetable stock

1 tsp olive oil (optional)


1. Pre-heat oven to 200 C/392 F (fan-force oven).

2. Add potato to a mixing bowl, and drizzle olive oil over the potato. Mix well, then spread potato on a lined baking tray. Bake for 25 minutes (rotate tray after 15 mins.)

3. While potato is baking, heat a non-stick fry pan or skillet. Cook tempeh until it is browned on all sides. (I use my non-stick ‘cafe style’ sandwich press for this step.)

4. Once tempeh and potatoes are cooked, set them aside. Heat a large saucepan on a medium heat, and add 2 tablespoons of water. Add chopped onions and saute for about 5 minutes. Add more water, a tablespoon at a time, if the onions begin to stick to the pan.

5. Add the garlic, curry powder and turmeric. Mix well, and cook for 1 minute on a low heat.

6. Add cabbage and cauliflower and mix well to coat the vegetables. Then add water, stock powder, coconut cream, tamari, and sugar. Mix well. Cover saucepan and, on a medium heat, bring liquid to a boil. Then turn heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally during this time.

7. Add the potato, tempeh and basil. Stir, then simmer on a low heat, uncovered, for 5 mins.

8. Garnish with basil leaves (I had run out, so I used coriander), and serve with rice and lightly-steamed broccoli.



Spiced Brown Rice

Serves 5 – 6


1 1/2 cups brown rice

3 cups water

5 cardamon pods

1 bay leaf

1/4 tsp ground turmeric

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

granulated peanuts or flaked almonds for garnish

1. Wash the rice first. I do this by adding it to a saucepan, and covering it with water. I use my hands to ‘swish’ the grains around. Remove any visible husks or matter that floats to the surface of the water. Pour the water out of the saucepan, being careful that the grains don’t flow down the sink with it! (use a sieve or colander if you need to).

2. Add 3 cups of water to the rice. Add bay leaf, cardamon pods, turmeric, salt, and cinnamon. Stir. Put saucepan on a medium heat, cover, and bring water to the boil. Then, simmer on a very low heat until all of the water has been absorbed (about 40 minutes, maybe more). Remove saucepan from heat, and keep covered for about 10 mins.

3. Remove bay leaf and cardamon pods. Fluff rice with a fork.

4. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with granulated peanuts or flaked almonds.


The Tiny Vegans’ Verdicts ( or, ‘why I should have used tofu’)…

The initial reaction to this meal was an ominous sign of things to come.

As I was preparing dinner, 6 year-old Tiny Vegan sauntered by, observed my food preparation in action, halted in his tracks and requested:

‘Can I have mine without tempeh’?

He didn’t always feel this way about tempeh. When he was a toddler, he enjoyed eating thinly sliced, lightly-browned, plain tempeh. Well, clearly, those days are gone!

So, for dinner, I served him a bowl containing rice, potatoes, cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli, covered in the sauce.  He ate that quite happily. Phew! 

Meanwhile, 4-year-old Tiny Vegan announced that he hated it. Yep! I believe the phrase: ‘I hate it’, was uttered at least 3 times.

OK, I think I am beginning to recall why I haven’t bought tempeh in ages. It isn’t solely due to the fact that our local supermarkets are sporadic in stocking it.

Little Baker even refused to eat it! He usually has a hearty appetite. He crawled up onto my lap, seeking a breastfeed.

My daughter, our heartiest of hearty eaters, ate in silence. When I asked if she was enjoying the meal, I detected a slight shoulder shrug. Then, in a burst of diplomacy fit for a UN peacekeeper, she uttered: ‘I like tempeh but I’m not a fan’. Diplomatic, but somewhat confusing! I have interpreted her words as meaning: ‘I’m not keen on this meal Mum, but I don’t want to hurt your feelings’. She did say that she really liked the sauce. This declaration had a ring of absolute truth to it.


Mat and I, on the other hand, thoroughly enjoyed our meal. I suppose it helps that we both like tempeh. Sadly, our offspring have not followed in our footsteps.

So, I leave it to you, dear reader. Which opinion holds more weight in your eyes? Do you relate to the Tiny Vegans’ disdain for tempeh? Or do you agree with the pro-tempeh viewpoint of the Parents of Tiny Vegans? :)


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Every Monday, I (aim to) feature a delicious vegan recipe that is enjoyed by my own family – I hope your family enjoys it too!


{Recipe} Macadamia and Sweet Potato Curry

This delectable green curry features an unexpected – but very welcome – addition. Shiitake mushrooms!


Macadamia and Sweet Potato Curry has been a much-loved recipe in our home for over a decade.

My aunty, Hazel, discovered the original recipe and passed it on to Mat and I, back in our child-free days. The recipe, by Belinda Jeffery, had been published on the web site of our local ABC radio station (but has since been removed).

The original recipe contained fish sauce.  With a couple of amendments and a few enhancements, we transformed it into a spectacular vegan recipe. These days, Mat and I eat a much milder version of this curry to accommodate our children’s palates.

However, milder does not equate to plainer. This curry is delightfully tasty, with delicious hints of lime and lemongrass. The roasted macadamia nuts add an appealing flavour and texture. The baked sweet potatoes add…surprise, surprise…a delicate sweetness.

A homemade green curry paste complements this dish, beautifully.



Quantity – 4 serves

1/2 Tbsp coconut oil

600g (21oz) orange sweet potato

2 Tbsp green curry paste (store-bought or homemade)

400ml (14 fl oz) coconut cream

2 sticks lemongrass, crushed to release the fragrance

4 kaffir lime leaves, crushed to release the fragrance

100g (3oz) raw macadamia nuts, halved

1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms

1/2 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp fresh lime juice

Coriander leaves for garnish

1/2 Tbsp olive oil


1. Peel the sweet potato, and chop into large cubes. Spread the sweet potato on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove sweet potato from the oven. Set aside.

2. While the sweet potato is baking, spread macadamia nuts on a baking tray and roast in the oven for about 5 minutes. Do not over-cook. The nuts can go from golden to burnt in a very short space of time!

2. While the sweet potato is baking, soak the shiitake mushrooms in 2 cups of hot water for about 20 minutes. Retain 1/4 cup of soak water. De-stem and slice the mushrooms. Set aside.

3. Heat coconut oil in a large saucepan, and add curry paste. Stir over a low heat for 2-3 minutes.

4. Add coconut milk, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, mushroom water, and mushrooms. Stir. Increase to medium heat, and bring to the boil.

5. Add sugar and lime juice. Mix well. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for a few minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.

6. Add sweet potato and macadamia nuts, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves.

7. Sprinkle with coriander leaves and serve with jasmine rice.

Macadamia and Sweet Potato Curry served with Basil-Ginger Tofu, and jasmine rice.

Macadamia and Sweet Potato Curry served with Basil-Ginger Tofu, and jasmine rice.

What do the tiny vegans think of this recipe?

There haven’t been any requests from 4 year old tiny vegan to name this dish after him. Despite this, the recipe is a ‘hit’ with all of the tiny vegans.

My 6 year old son, the Least Adventurous Eater, eats this meal happily but avoids the shiitake mushrooms. He is not a fan of mushrooms. That is not a problem because the rest of us adore shiitake mushrooms, and are happy to eat his share too.

Each Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe that is enjoyed by my own family  – I hope your family enjoys it too.


{Recipe} Green Curry Paste (vegan)


Most store-bought green curry pastes contain shrimp paste, and an overload of salt and oil. This curry paste is mild, tasty, shrimp-paste-free, low in oil, low in salt, and kid-friendly. You can ramp up the heat by increasing the amount of green chillies if you prefer a spicier paste.

I adapted and veganized a recipe from a cookbook called The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook in order to develop this paste.

What non-vegan ingredient would be present in a green curry paste recipe from a vegetarian cookbook?

Shrimp paste.

Yep. Shrimp paste! A blatantly non-vegetarian ingredient. How did that pass the final (or first) edit?!

I used a mortar and pestle to prepare the paste. You could use a mini food processor if you prefer. However, this seemed like the perfect recipe to prepare with a mortar and pestle. It was!


Quantity- makes 5 Tbsp (approx.)

2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 Tbsp ground corinader

1 tsp black peppercorns

5 large cloves garlic (or 10 small cloves)

1 – 1.5 tsp salt

1 tsp lime zest

1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1 tsp freshly grated ginger

1 Tbsp lemongrass, finely chopped

2 Tbsp coriander stems, finely chopped

2 Tbsp coriander leaves

1 Tbsp spring onion (shallots), white part only – chopped

1 Tbsp of large green chilli, finely chopped

1/2 tsp lime juice

1 Tbsp oil (I used coconut)


1. Heat a fry pan or skillet on a low heat. Add the cumin seeds and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the ground coriander, stir, and cook for one minute. Remove pan from heat. Add the cumin seeds and ground coriander to the mortar.

2. Add the black peppercorns, one tsp of salt, nutmeg, ginger, and garlic to the mortar. Grind the ingredients with the pestle until a paste begins to develop.

3. Add the oil and lime juice. Mix the ingredients with the pestle (or a small spoon) until the liquid is incorporated. Then add the lime zest, lemongrass. spring onions, and green chilli. Grind the ingredients to a paste.

4. Add coriander stems and coriander leaves. Grind until a paste consistency is obtained. Taste a small amount of the paste, and determine whether it requires the additional 1/2 tsp of salt, or more chillies.



Use the paste in curries and laksa. It is delicious with Macadamia and Sweet Potato Curry.

Store leftover paste in a lidded glass jar in the fridge, and use within 3 weeks.

Each Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe that is enjoyed by my own family  – I hope your family enjoys it too.


{Restaurant Review} Cardamon Pod Vegetarian, Broadbeach

We visited Cardamon Pod Vegetarian restaurant for lunch this week. Cardamon Pod is located at Broadbeach (on the Gold Coast), just a couple of blocks from the beach. This Hare Krishna restaurant continues to impress me with its vibrant and tasty vegan food.

My strongest memories of Hare Krishna food are steeped in my university days. The Hare Krishna food on campus had few vegan options, and I can recall lots of dairy-based foods. That is not the case at Cardamon Pod. Vegans are catered for, more than adequately. There was not a dairy-based mango lassi in sight! (Disclaimer: there may be one on the menu, somewhere….).



We were famished on arrival. There was a hive of activity – it was 1pm, peak time. We had no trouble finding a table, and chose to eat inside. We sat at a large table with a long bench seat covered in about a dozen colourful and cheerful cushions. The décor is very eclectic, and visually pleasing to the eye. The tables are mismatched. There is a couch outside. There are purple plastic chairs, and there are wooden-framed chairs with soft, bouncy seat cushions (like the ones we sat in). There are grand looking chairs, with high backs and wide arms. We saw parrot candle stick holders, with melted wax covering the birds. The food is also visually appealing.

ecclectic decor


Diners at Cardamon Pod can choose from a variety of hot and cold dishes. The hot dishes are presented bain marie style. I noticed one of the staff members using a thermometer to check the temps of each hot dish, which may be reassuring for those who have concerns about eating food from bain maries.

Mat was excited to notice that they had vegan kofta balls. We only know of one other restaurant that makes vegan kofta balls, so Mat was thrilled to have the option.

I was feeling overwhelmed by my hunger and the plethora of choices. I knew that I wanted salad. Mat suggested that we order a Vegan Platter. It consisted of our choice of 2 hot dishes and 2 salads, rice and a samosa. We chose vegetable curry, Kofta balls (of course!), Sweet Potato, Broccoli and Sesame Tofu salad and Dutch Carrot, Almond and Rocket salad. The platter cost $26. It consists of more food than one person can comfortably eat.



We also decided on vegan nachos and an additional samosa as we knew the kids would enjoy both of these. We also shared our salads with the kids. The samosas are huge, so 2 samosas between 3 kids and 1 adult is adequate (Little Baker and I didn’t indulge in samosa).
The curry, nachos and salads were gluten-free. The nachos cost $16. The samosa cost $4 and came with a sauce that was called ‘tomato chutney’. However, it had the smooth consistency of a sauce – there were no tomato chunks. Mat and my daughter couldn’t stop raving about the chutney (sauce). This was also the sauce that was poured over the kofta balls. They were right in their assessment, it was scrumptious.



My daughter tried all of the dishes, and informed me that her favourite was the nachos, specifically the kidney bean concoction covering the corn chips. The beans had a subtle hint of lemon. The boys loved the samosas, and corn chips -of course! Mat’s favourite were the kofta balls. The Dutch Carrot salad had a surprising, but welcome, bite of chilli to it. I also enjoyed the taste and consistency of the triangles of tofu. Little Baker enjoyed them too – these are easy finger food. He was trying to use a fork at one stage, imitating his siblings. I watched him attempting to balance a piece of rocket on the fork.

I did worry about Little Baker spilling food on the beautiful cushions. He had grains of rice spread across the table and stuck to his shirt. At one stage, our 3 year old clearly forgot that we were in a restaurant. After he scoffed his samosa, corn chips and broccoli, he curled up like a cat on a couple of cushions. He was set for a nap! Someone knocked over a glass of water. Ah, eating out with 4 children is rarely completely relaxing!



Cardamon Pod also has a juice and smoothie bar, and serves raw desserts like chocolate mousse. We didn’t order a drink or dessert on this visit. On a previous visit, I ordered The Hulk (they had run out of baby spinach, so I was offered a double dose of spirulina. I agreed. It was the first time I had consumed spirulina in a smoothie. It was radio-active green, and delicious. Afterwards, I felt incredibly energised).

There wasn’t room for a Hulk or a dessert this time. Mat suggested that we visit solely for dessert one day. Great idea!
So, for a grand total of $46 my family of 2 adults, 3 children and a baby left Cardamon Pod with full and happy bellies, eager to visit again soon.

Look at what we spotted across the road, etched into the footpath……


Cardamon Pod Vegetarian

11/110 Surf Parade,

Broadbeach, QLD

Phone 0452 218 108 for opening hours.



I want to extend my gratitude to those that have voted for me in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Vegan and Vegetarian Moms 2013

I am currently in the number 2 spot! This is very exciting! I would love to maintain this position. If you enjoy reading Made of Stars, please vote for me here.

I really appreciate your support. 

You can vote for me once every 24 hours. You are not required to register, or provide your email address. You just click. It’s really quick!

The competition ends on 7 February. Thank you. :)



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