Malaysian Dinner

5 Oct

Last night, after a long journey back home from NYC, I was confronted by a quiet empty kitchen. M had gone upstairs to put Z to bed, J had gone to have her shower, and I realised that we would all be hungry in about half an hour. I wanted to make a REALLY fast, but really delicious meal that would be warm, and full of the flavours of home.

We didnt have much in the fridge, but we did have some tempeh, a half bag of frozen spinach, some milk (for vegans, you can replace with a bit of coconut milk), some salsa with chopped tomatoes and garlic, an onion and jasmine rice. Chili and soy sauces provided heat and flavour, along with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil. This was such a good meal, and took only a few minutes to put together.

Serves four hungry people on a cold rainy day, with the remembrance of sunshine and heat.

Prepare some jasmine rice.

While the rice is cooking, chop an onion, and saute, with a bit of olive oil and a bit of toasted sesame oil, in a medium sized non stick pan until translucent. Sprinkle over some soy sauce and some chili sauce until the onion is very dark and sticky looking. Slice up the tempeh, bring the heat up high, and quick fry the tempeh, ensuring it is covered in the onion sticky mix. You should fry the tempeh in an even layer, and then flip it over. Add more soy or chili sauce if you want it stickier, saltier or hotter. Once the tempeh has been cooked on both sides (it will get a bit brownish and will start to burn on the edges), stir fry it a bit, and transfer to a bowl. Set aside to serve. This should take you about ten minutes total.

Clean out the frying pan, and put half a bag of frozen spinach (or 2 – 3 cups fresh, chopped) and a few tablespoons of salsa into the pan. Put the heat on to low, and let the mixture melt and come to room temperature. Add the milk or coconut milk (I used about half a cup), and about a teaspoon of soy sauce. Let the mixture come to a boil, and let it bubble down a bit. Taste for saltiness and adjust. If you have it, sprinkle over a half a teaspoon or more of garam masala for a soft hint of spice.

Serve the spinach and tempeh with rice for a simple, easy Malaysian meal.

PS – We were so hungry, and it smelled so good, I forgot to take a picture! But trust me, its easy, delicious, and it looks beautiful, with the deep creamy green of the spinach, the sticky golden chili tempeh and the pure white rice.

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