Samosa Spiced Homefries and Mango Chutney, Hot Sauce-Glazed Tempeh, and Thyme Roasted Asparagus
I put the side in this meal first in the title because I’m so proud of it. This is the first of my recipes posted here, and it’s one of my favorites. It’s good for brunch, but quick enough that you can cook it for dinner, too. The Mango Chutney is super easy. The tempeh is another marinade ahead recipe. And, the thyme roasted asparagus barely takes any effort and tastes better than steaming it. All together, the right-before-dinner prep and cook time can take a lot of effort. The day I made this, my partner was working at the pre-school cooperative our friends started all day, so I had to get creative keeping the baby entertained and still getting this fancy dinner that I really, really wanted on the table.
Luckily, while searching our kitchen boxes for ingredients, I found a stashed away spiced cranberry apple sauce from Nama Farm in Vermont. Last year, when our friends Nate and Ama from Nama Farm made this sauce, it was so good that I hid the last jar from myself and my roommates so we wouldn’t just eat all of it in one sitting. I put a bowl of it in front of the baby and got a good 30 minutes of prep time out of it. Thanks, Nama Farm!
Ok, so back to the dinner. The three things that can be done during nap time, or well ahead, are the mango chutney, the marinade for the tempeh, and slicing and cooking the potatoes. Both the chutney and tempeh are, obviously, Veganomicon.
The chutney takes about five minutes to cook, with 10 minutes of prep time. It’s inauthentic, but easy. Since it cooks so quickly, just focus on each prep-ahead recipe separately.
5 Minute Mango Chutney
- 2 tsp peanut oil (or another oil if your there are any kids not on peanuts yet)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped (i used some unnamed pepper we had in the fridge)
- 1 large mango, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces, a little under 2 cups of fruit (or unpeeled, whatever)
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp water
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar (or other vinegar)
- 1/2 tsp asafetida* (or other Indian spice blend)
*This is a rare spice in this region, so I used garam masala, which made the chutney darker, like cinnamon apple sauce. It tasted great, but it wasn’t that pretty. If you want it to be prettier, try a lighter colored spice blend.
Preheat a small sauce pan over medium-low heat. Toss in the oil, garlic, ginger, and jalapeño. Sauté for about 1 minute. Add the mango, sugar, and water. Turn heat up to medium, cover, and cook for 3 minutes, until it’s boiling. Add the vinegar and spice, and cook for another minute, uncovered. It needs to be chilled before you use it, so throw it in a jar and put it in the fridge if you have time, or the freezer if you don’t. If using the freezer, shake the jar every so often to allow it to cool evenly.
Samosa Spiced Homefries
The 1st conundrum I faced making this meal was which to start 1st, the homefries or the tempeh. I think the homefries are best to start 1st, because if you need to, you can just lower the heat and let it cook undisturbed for however long, letting it get nice and brown.
The 2nd conundrum I faced is that, as much as possible, we don’t let the baby eat spices grown in India. Cars are run on leaded gas in India, and the lead in the exhaust fumes can fall onto farmlands, contaminating the plants. You can read more about it here. There is no safe level of lead exposure for children. If you choose to limit exposure to Indian spices, as well, I’ve added a step to allow for that.
- around eight medium sized yukon gold potatoes
- 1 c of chopped fresh or frozen carrots
- 1 c of fresh or frozen peas
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 tbs curry powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp powdered ginger
- 2 tbs lemon juice
Begin buy making your own bullion cube of sorts. Mix the curry powder, salt, and ginger in a small cup with the lemon juice. It will make a crumbly season mix. Set aside.
Wash your potatoes. Cut each one in half length wise. Take each half and slice the potatoes width-wise into small slivers. Through the potatoes into a sauce pan and cover with water. Cover, bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain cooked potatoes and set aside. If you’re doing this step earlier in the day, place the cooled potatoes in an air-tight container and place in the fridge.
Pre-heat a cast iron pan over medium heat. The cast iron needs to be at least a medium sized pan, but a larger pan will help get the potatoes crispier. Place the potatoes in the pan in an even layer. Cover the potatoes in oil, and mix them around to coat them all. Let them cook undisturbed for about 10 minutes. At this point, you can begin the tempeh and pre-heat the oven for the asparagus.
Flip the potatoes using a spatula, trying your best to keep the potatoes together to slap right down in the same place. It’s really hard to cook homefries in a pan. The only way to get them all brown is to have one of those fancy stove tops in a diner. But they’ll get brown enough. Let the homefries cook for eight or so more minutes.
Add the carrots and the peas, and stir around the potatoes. let them cook another five minutes, making sure all the peas and carrots are are getting cooked.
At this point, if you don’t want any children to eat the curry powder, take out a serving for however many aren’t eating that, and set aside. You can sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper on it, and serve it to them that way.
With the rest of the potatoes, crumble in the bullion-type-thing over the potatoes. Stir until the spices are well incorporated. Remove from heat.
Hot Sauce-Glazed Tempeh
This isn’t heat-hot, but tasty hot. My baby loves hot sauce, and eats this without a problem. If you’re cooking for kids who don’t like spicy flavors as much, try marinating their pieces for just 20 minutes, and cooking them first without adding marinade as it cooks. The 1st time I tried this, I used Siracaha. When I put the tempeh over heat, I ended up pepper spraying the whole house. It was awful. No one could breath. My roommate was hosting a meeting, and they had to leave. We put towels down at the crack under the door to our bedroom, where the baby was sleeping. I crossed my fingers that he wouldn’t wake up, because I didn’t want to open the door and let the pepper spray into the room. We opened all the windows and brought the baby monitor out to the porch while we waited for the air to clear. So, stick with hot sauces like Frank’s or Texas Pete’s. Maybe that was obvious to you, though, and you would never use 1/4 cup of Siracha in anything.
(The steps are similar to the ones for the smokey tempeh in the last post, so I’m going to save time and paste the cutting directions here.)
First, begin to boil water in a medium sauce pan. Next, you’re going to cut the tempeh. Like tofu, I like my tempeh cut smaller than usually recommended. First, cut the tempeh width wise. That will give you two almost-squares. Take those pieces and cut an X from corner to corner, making eight triangles all together. Lay each triangle on its base, standing up, and cut it in half so that there are two thin, identical pieces. This part may be confusing to read, so let me bring in some geometry. You want to cut the eight pieces so they stay the same shape, whether they look acute or equilateral. You do not want to cut them so they are right triangles. The goal is to make the tempeh thinner, while keeping the same amount of surface space. Once the water is brought to a boil, add the tempeh, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Again, the marinade below is for each package of tempeh, and each package serves two adults fine. Tempeh holds up well in marinade, so make as much as you want and you can use any uncooked tempeh later on.
- 1/2 vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (juice from 1 lemon)
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Mix all the ingredients together in a shallow container of an appropriate size for the amount of tempeh. Place the pieces of tempeh in the container, marinading for at least one hour, flipping half way through.
(Same directions as Smokey Tempeh. )When ready to cook, pre-heat a medium cast iron, or bigger, on medium heat, and add about a tbs of olive oil. Place the tempeh in an even layer in the pan, add enough marinade to cover the pan. Let fry undisturbed for about 5 minutes, then flip and cook for another 5 minutes, adding more marinade each time you flip. If you need to, flip again and cook each side for a few more minutes until the tempeh is darker, even charred if you want. If you have more tempeh to cook than fits in the pan, repeat the process until all you tempeh is cooked. Keep cooked tempeh warm in a covered dish with the lid off a bit, to allow the steam to escape and prevent the tempeh from getting soggy.
Thyme Roasted Asparagus
- olive oil
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Consider how many stalks of asparagus each person will eat, because the asparagus doesn’t store well. However many stalks you’ve decided on, chop off the ends. Place in a baking pan and drizzle with olive oil. Throw in a big pinch of thyme and a little pinch of salt, and mix around with your hands. Bake for 15 minutes.
My baby absolutely loved it! He gobbled up the tempeh. He really likes hot sauce. Sometimes he motions for us to put hot sauce on his burrito when we’re putting hot sauce on ours. And he eats it without blinking. So this was the perfect meal for him. He loved the asparagus, too. And, as long as he didn’t get a pea in his mouth, he loved the potatoes and carrots.
The adults liked the meal, too. A lot! Hot sauce-glazed tempeh is one of my favorite things to eat. We had leftover marinading tempeh, which I cooked up for lunch the next day. I toasted some Follow Your Heart vegan mozzerala on bread and made a cheesey tempeh chutney sandwich, which was also amazing. I think I’m going to make this at least three times a month.