This dish is a copycat of a Vietnamese lemongrass chick’n that I love from one of my favorite vegan restaurants here. The recipe is quick, simple, and delicious that is made from stir-frying cooked rice with crispy tempeh and aromatic lemongrass. Try this recipe for your busy weeknight dinners.
What is Tempeh?
Tempeh is a protein-rich soybean product originated from Indonesia. It is not tofu although both are made from soybeans. Tempeh is made from fermented whole soybeans and contains a variety of vitamins, which makes it a perfect meat replacement for vegetarian/vegan diets. It has a firmer texture with a wonderful nutty flavor. Store-bought tempeh normally comes in pressed white/beige cake especially the Original flavor. You may see different colors on these cakes especially when brands use other grains or beans in the process of making tempeh.
How to prepare the Tempeh?
There are many ways to prepare tempeh to achieve the best taste and I love mine pan-fried, a method that I learned from my Indonesian friend. This cooking method really enhances the tempeh’s nuttiness flavor. I cut the tempeh to about 2mm thick slices and slowly pan-fry them with oil until golden brown. I sometimes seasoned the tempeh with just a pinch of salt and pepper for a quick snack. Alternatively, one of the fastest ways to prepare tempeh is to deep-fry them before tossing it with your favorite sauces. I used the crispy tempeh then sauteed with fragrant lemongrass before tossing it with cooked rice to complete this meal.
Steps to make Lemongrass Tempeh Fried Rice
- Step 1: First, pan-fry the thinly sliced tempeh until crispy and golden brown.
- Step 2: Then, sauté the tempeh with lemongrass and Vegan Fish Sauce (Nước mắm Chay) until well combined.
- Step 3: Add in the cooked rice along with seasonings such as salt or tamari or soy sauce.
- Step 4: Finally, toss everything together until well combined and serve with a side of refreshing homemade cucumber relish.
- Lemongrass – this citrusy herb addition is probably why I love this fried rice so much. I used fresh chopped lemongrass (white part only) for the extra flavor but frozen, dried, or paste are some great alternatives for this dish.
- Vegan ‘fish’ sauce – is part of the marinades that give tempeh the umami flavor and my homemade Vegan Fish Sauce (Nước mắm Chay) is the perfect addition for this dish.
- Cooked grain – Jasmine rice works best for fried rice but you can use any grain that you like.
This Lemongrass Tempeh fried rice is
- Quick and easy
- Customizable – use gluten-free soy sauce or tamari accordingly to your preference
- Flavorful – thanks to the sauteed fresh lemongrass
- Meal-prep friendly
- Delicious with crispy texture from the crispy tempeh
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback and see your beautiful re-creation. Leave me a comment, rate it, and tag @woon.heng and #woonheng to your photos on Instagram or Facebook. Happy cooking, friends!
Lemongrass Tempeh Fried Rice
- 3 cups cooked Jasmine rice or any other grain
- 8 oz [227g] tempeh cut into thin cubes about 4mm thick
- 2 tablespoons chopped lemongrass
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce or tamari – separated
- 2 tablespoons vegan ‘fish’ sauce nước mắm chay
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons chopped green onions
- oil for cooking
- 1/2 cup cucumber slices about one small cucumber
- 1 Thai chili chopped
- 1 small shallots sliced
- 1½ tablespoons rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- squeeze of lime juice
- Heat a non-stick with 1 tablespoon oil and pan fry tempeh over low-medium heat until golden brown.
- Push tempeh to the side of the pan and add another 3 teaspoons of oil, then sauté lemongrass until aromatic.
- Season with vegan ‘fish’ sauce, 1 teaspoon of soy sauce, and cook until tempeh is well coated. Dish out and set aside.
- Using the same pan, add another tablespoon of oil and sauté green onions until fragrant.
- Add the cooked rice and continue to stir fry for a minute or two.
- Then add salt and the remaining soy sauce and cook until all ingredients are well combined.
- Add the pan-fried tempeh back and give it a quick toss then garnish with more fresh chopped green onions before serving.
- I served mine with simple homemade cucumber relish.
- To make the cucumber relish, place all the wet ingredients in a jar.
- Then, add chopped chili and cucumber slices.
- Let the mixture sit for at least 1 hour before using. The longer it sits the better.
- Sauté lemongrass with my Vegan Fish Sauce (Nước mắm Chay) or use your favorite store brand. Since the sodium level is different for each brand, please adjust the salt accordingly in this recipe.
- Tempeh substitution – tofu or other beans tempeh can be used here.
- Cooked grain – my favorite is Jasmine or Basmati, but other grains such as quinoa, black rice, or brown rice is a great option.
- Vegetable addition – Broccoli, Kale, spinach, or frozen mixed vegetables are some of the great addition to this fried rice.
- Cucumber Relish – make this a day before to reduce the waiting time. Be sure cucumber slices are all soaked into the liquid.