As the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians, the Recipe Redux is focused on giving delicious dishes a healthy spin, while keeping them delicious ("redux" is latin for revisit or reinvent). Why? To show that healthy eating can make your taste buds dance! The Recipe Redux is comprised of a community of food bloggers who are all registered dietitians, so if you're looking for a healthy and delightful recipe, you know where to find them. Each month, we all showcase our own recipe using the mystery ingredient of the month. And as you already know, this month is Fermented Foods.
This might sound scary to some, but if you've ever had sauerkraut, yogurt, sourdough bread or beer (not really a food, but it's fermented!), then you've already experienced the wonders of fermentation. Fermented foods help to improve our gut flora, or gut bacteria, acting as probiotics. Establishing and maintaining a healthy gut flora makes for one healthy digestive system, which plays a strong role in our immune health.
For my first recipe challenge, I chose tempeh: fermented soy beans formed into a compact, cake-like structure which has served as a staple for the people in Indonesia for thousands of years. It's high quality protein content and rather firm and meaty texture makes it a great substitute for meat. Most grocery stores carry this, or you can make it yourself. Because the fermentation process naturally requires a bacteria (Rhizopus oligosporus), there may be some black spots (aka mold) on your tempeh; but that's okay! Don't let it gross you out. There are plenty of cheeses that have some naturally occurring molds that you have probably eaten - like brie, for instance.
Tempeh Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce
1/2 package prepared original tempeh, cut in half by width, and then into 2 inch long strips
1 Tbsp of toasted sesame oil (olive or canola works as well)
2 rice paper wraps/tapioca starch paper (can be found at Publix or Asian specialty store)
1-2 cups spinach, thinly sliced carrots and scallion into 2 inch pieces
Handful of basil and cilantro
Spicy Peanut Sauce
2 Tbsp peanut butter (crunchy is where it's at; no added sugars or oils)
1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp water
1 tsp honey
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
Make your sauce first. Combine all ingredients in small bowl until smooth and incorporated. You may heat in saucepan on medium low heat to really bring out the spice, but I found it to be just spicy enough without heating. Set aside.
Heat oil in skillet over medium heat, and add tempeh strips and cook ~4 minutes on each side. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper on both sides while cooking. They should develop a nice browning. Set aside to cool.
One at a time, gently soak rice paper under running water and massage with hands until paper becomes soft. It will get REALLY soft so be careful not to let the edges stick to one another. Just before it's completely limp, let excess water drip off and lay on flat surface.
Load your veggies, herbs and tempeh onto one side of the paper. Fold the edge closet to the fillings up and over the fillings. Now fold the two adjacent sides inward and roll it up like a burrito. Try to roll it as tight as you can without ripping it. It's an art; it may take a try or two. I think that's why there's so many rice papers in one pack :)
Leave them whole or cut in half for more of a presentation. Either way, they're getting dunked in some peanut sauce and will taste great either way.