Stir-Fry Week: Tempeh, mushroom & cabbage stirflunk

Stirflunk is the sound made by a recipe that didn’t quite cut it.


After a weekend of successful stir fries thanks to Kate Sherwood’s recipes in the most recent Nutrition Action newsletter, I decided to try my hand at it with tempeh. I love that protein-y, fermented brick of soy, but it tends to taste acrid if only quickly cooked.

So there was the dilemma, because quickly cooked is the crux of stir-frying. I thought instead I’d give the tempeh separate treatment in the slowcooker, where I could also make the rice. The veggies and sauce got the standard fast, hot, constantly-moving stir-fry treatment in the pan.

veggies cooking

When everything came together in the bowl, though, it wasn’t quite as rich-tasting as I’d hoped, although the tempeh did mellow out considerably. It wasn’t sad-trombone bad; it was a mild stirflunk.


So I’m a little hesitant to share this, but since I did end up eating this for several meals, maybe I’m being a little hard on it. Give it a try and let me know how it tastes (and sounds):

Tempeh mushroom stir fry

(4 servings, approx. 410 calories each)

1 cup short grain brown rice, uncooked
3.5 cups water
1 package tempeh, cubed (or rectangled, if that’s a thing)
2 + 1 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs rice wine vinegar
2 tsp molasses
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbs dry sherry
1 + 1 Tbs peanut or canola oil
2-3 cups mushrooms, diced
4 cups finely cut red cabbage
6 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces

Add the rice, water, tempeh, 2 Tbs soy sauce, vinegar and molasses to a slowcooker. Cook on high for 3-3.5 hours, stirring occasionally.

Combine garlic, sherry and 1 Tbs soy sauce in a small bowl.

Heat 1 Tbs of oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic/sherry/soy sauce to the pan along with cabbage and scallions. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes. Remove contents from the pan.

Heat another 1 Tbs of oil over medium-high heat. Add the cooked rice and tempeh; stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Combine with the veggies to mix and heat everything through. Remove from heat and serve in 4 bowls.

If that recipe also lands with a thud in your kitchen, here’s a week’s worth of stir-fry recipes to make up for it:

  • Coconut curried pork, snow pea & mango stir-fry from Cooking Light (here)
  • Mushroom, pepper & basil stir fry from The Simple Veganista (here)
  • Bay scallop stirfry from Martha Stewart (here)
  • Ginger coconut peanut tofu & veggie stirfry from Lunch Box Bunch (here)
  • Cantonese-style shrimp and cabbage from Cooking Light (here)
  • Three-pea, cashew & tofu stir fry from Eating Well (here)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *