{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!



About Ally
Mamma. Vegan. I blog at Made of Stars.

25 Responses to {Recipe} Tempeh and Potato Curry with Spiced Brown Rice

  1. Personally, I love tempeh even more than I love tofu. But, like you, I had several years when my kids were little tempeh-haters. I’d kind of taken it off the family menu until earlier this year when I started using it again and they loved it… Well, my son loves it & my daughter doesn’t mind it. Either way, it now gets eaten and is on high rotation in our house these days. I’ll be trying this one for sure. Thanks!

  2. annov says:

    I’m more with the Tiny Vegans.The texture of tempeh is good, but it has an after-taste that I’m not keen on. I can tolerate it cooked with fresh ginger, sesame oil, and a little soy sauce, but I never feel inspired to try doing anything else with it. The curry sounds appealing. It might hide whatever it is about tempeh that I don’t like. It’s too bad that I don’t like it more. I’ve found a place that always has it in stock and sells it for less than $2.

    • Linda says:

      I think some people steam it to take away some part of the taste they don’t like. I wonder if that would work for you? (Although that’s probably more trouble than it’s worth!). 🙂

    • Have you tried marinating it? I usually chuck soy over it to start with, and sometimes other herbs and spices. Then add the marinade to the cooking.

      • annov says:

        That’s a good idea. I try to marinade it a bit when I use ginger and soy sauce, but I’m not good at planning meals a head of time. How long do you usually marinade it for? Marinading for longer would probably help.

      • Depends what I’m doing. If I’m frying it for sandwiches ie rasher style, sliced thinly, then maybe half an hour, or an hour. And once it has crisped up, if there is any soya left (either tamari or shoyu) I’ll chuck that in the pan too.

        If I’m doing a fancy recipe, which doesn’t happen often, maybe a bit longer. A couple of hours. However, sometimes, I’ll marinate more than I need so it sits around overnight in the fridge for the next time. Possible marinade ingredients are ginger, shoyu/tamari, onion, wine vinegar or vinagre de Jerez (balsamic if you prefer), garlic, chillies, black peppercorns, dried mixed herbs.

        I wouldn’t think of steaming it, I have to be honest. I think one of the tricks with tempeh, is to make sure it is either sliced thinly or in relatively small pieces. Plus, a good accompanying sauce.

        Oddly I made a casserole last night and there was none left. I was a bit annoyed as I used nearly a whole jar! Plus, button mushrooms, onion, garlic, carrots, and some tomato and red pepper coulis/sauce that I had made the day before. May have added veg stock, can’t remember. Oh and potatoes.

        If you want to ask any more recipe ?s I’ve got a recipe page over on roughseas.

        @ ally sorry for going off at a tangent!

      • Ally says:

        No need to apologise! I am enjoying the discussion. Not off tangent at all! Carry on…. 🙂

        Your casserole sounds fabulous.

        I agree with tempeh being more palatable if it is cut thinly or into small pieces.

        I am heading over to your blog to confirm that I am following you. You haven’t appeared in my WP reader for ages.

      • I probably haven’t written for ages. I am on Gibraltar summer hours 😀

        I do need to update my recipe pages though and reading this reminded me.

      • Ally says:

        Fair enough! I am on winter hours – that is, climbing into bed early with a good book. 🙂

  3. Aaaagh! I can’t believe there are any vegetarians who don’t like tempeh! I love it. The texture is brilliant and it is so versatile. Mind you, I don’t think I’ve ever curried it. Stir-fried it, just fried it and served with Indonesian dipping sauces, casseroled it, fried it rasher style and eaten in sandwiches, and I must go see if our local shop has some in stock.

    I wouldn’t use seitan in curry either. I normally stick to veg curries, maybe I’ve done the odd tofu one? Can’t remember. In terms of protein I tend to stick to the pulses for curries.

    Brown rice? Last time we tried some brown (basmati) rice it took for ever. Partner cooks the rice, as he is a whizz at it, and even he despaired at the uncookable stuff. Healthy yes, but um truth is we both prefer white basmati.

  4. susykat says:

    As you may know, I am in the “pro-tempeh” camp. I adore tempeh!!!
    This meal looks absolutely delicious! 😀

  5. Xiomara says:

    Mmmmmm!! Looks great!! :)))

    • Ally says:

      Hello! It’s good to see you. 🙂 I noticed your absence. I read your latest blog post, but haven’t had a chance to comment.
      A big move, wow! I hope all is well.

  6. narf77 says:

    Yeah I’m in the kiddiewinks camp on tempeh as a rule. I am going to give making it myself a go to see if I can’t fandangle it to make it tasty and after that if it won’t tango in step…it’s the highway tempeh! Some nice firm tofu would give a great texture in this curry and would carry that lovely sounding sauce well. Whenever I eat tempeh (and I still do on occasion…) I think of eating liver. When I ate meat back last century when meat eating was the norm I didn’t much like liver either. Guess it is an aquired taste 😉

    • Ally says:

      Oh the liver connotation would be enough to turn me right off. Ah, you will be in big trouble narf7 if I start thinking of liver when I next eat tempeh. 🙂

      • narf77 says:

        LOL! It has that smooth yet tough texture that liver has and the lumps of soybean just remind me of cow tongue 😉

      • Ally says:

        Now you’ve done it!!!! There’s another association that I can live without.

        I would suggest that you stick with tofu, haha! 🙂

  7. Starr says:

    I have not had much success with tempeh. Not sure if I’m doing something wrong or if maybe I’m just not a fan, but I will not let it beat me!… Of course, after narf77’s descriptions, maybe I should 🙂

    Perhaps I’ll try again with your curry. It looks and sounds delicious!

    • Ally says:

      Hi Starr 🙂

      Yes, narf is in big trouble now. 😉

      You are so skillful in the kitchen, I doubt it is anything you are doing wrong. Maybe you are just not a fan – and that is OK 🙂

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