Gochujang-Glazed Tempeh & Brown Rice Bowls

Introduction

Gochujang-Glazed Tempeh & Brown Rice Bowls are a delicious and nutritious fusion dish that brings together the hearty textures of tempeh and the rich, complex flavors of gochujang, a traditional Korean chili paste. This dish is perfect for those looking to add a bit of spice and variety to their meal rotation while maintaining a healthy diet. Gochujang adds a deep umami flavor with a hint of sweetness and spice, perfectly complementing the nutty taste of tempeh and the earthy notes of brown rice.

Ingredients

For the Gochujang Glaze:

  • 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chili paste)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari (for a gluten-free option)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

For the Tempeh:

  • 1 block (8 ounces) of tempeh, cut into cubes or slices
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or another neutral oil for frying

For the Bowls:

  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup thinly sliced cucumber
  • 1 cup steamed or sautéed spinach
  • 1/2 cup radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish
  • Fresh cilantro or parsley, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Cooking the Brown Rice:
    • Rinse the brown rice under cold water to remove excess starch.
    • In a medium pot, combine the rice and water (or vegetable broth). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
    • Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed.
    • Remove from heat and let it sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.

Watch Full Recipe Video:

  1. Preparing the Gochujang Glaze:
    • In a small bowl, whisk together the gochujang, soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup, sesame oil, minced garlic, and grated ginger until well combined. Adjust the sweetness or spiciness according to your taste.
  2. Preparing the Tempeh:
    • Cut the tempeh into cubes or slices, depending on your preference.
    • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the tempeh and cook until golden brown on all sides, about 5-7 minutes.
    • Once the tempeh is cooked, reduce the heat to low and pour the gochujang glaze over the tempeh. Stir to coat evenly, and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the glaze has thickened and the tempeh is well-coated.
  3. Preparing the Vegetables:
    • While the rice and tempeh are cooking, prepare the vegetables.
    • Shred the carrots, thinly slice the cucumbers and radishes, and steam or sauté the spinach.
    • Slice the avocado and chop the green onions.

Assembling the Bowls

  1. Base Layer:
    • Start by dividing the cooked brown rice into four bowls, creating a hearty base for the dish.
  2. Adding the Tempeh:
    • Spoon the gochujang-glazed tempeh over the rice. The spicy, sweet, and savory tempeh adds a rich flavor that permeates the entire bowl.
  3. Arranging the Vegetables:
    • Arrange the shredded carrots, sliced cucumbers, steamed spinach, radishes, and avocado slices around the tempeh. The vibrant colors and varied textures of the vegetables make the dish visually appealing and nutritionally balanced.

  1. Garnishing:
    • Sprinkle the bowls with chopped green onions, sesame seeds, and fresh cilantro or parsley. These garnishes add a final touch of flavor, crunch, and freshness.

Nutritional Benefits

  1. Tempeh:
    • Tempeh is a fermented soybean product that is high in protein, probiotics, and essential amino acids. It is also a good source of iron, calcium, and magnesium, making it a nutritious meat alternative for vegetarians and vegans.
  2. Gochujang:
    • Gochujang is rich in antioxidants and contains capsaicin, which has metabolism-boosting properties. It also adds a depth of flavor without the need for excessive amounts of salt or sugar.
  3. Brown Rice:
    • Brown rice is a whole grain that provides fiber, B vitamins, and essential minerals such as manganese and selenium. It has a lower glycemic index than white rice, making it a better choice for maintaining stable blood sugar levels.
  4. Vegetables:
    • The assorted vegetables in this dish contribute a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, cucumbers provide hydration and vitamin K, spinach offers iron and calcium, radishes are high in vitamin C, and avocados supply healthy fats and potassium.

Cooking Tips

  1. Marinating Tempeh:
    • For extra flavor, marinate the tempeh in the gochujang glaze for at least 30 minutes before cooking. This allows the flavors to penetrate deeper into the tempeh.
  2. Meal Prep:
    • This dish is great for meal prep. Cook a larger batch of rice and tempeh, and store them in separate containers. Prepare the vegetables in advance and store them in airtight containers in the refrigerator. Assemble the bowls just before eating to maintain freshness and texture.
  3. Adjusting Spice Levels:
    • Gochujang can vary in spiciness. If you prefer a milder flavor, reduce the amount of gochujang and increase the maple syrup or add a tablespoon of water to the glaze. If you like it spicier, add more gochujang or a pinch of red pepper flakes.
  4. Gluten-Free Option:
    • Ensure the soy sauce used is gluten-free (tamari is a good option) if you are catering to a gluten-free diet.
  5. Adding Protein:
    • To increase the protein content, consider adding a poached or fried egg on top of the bowl. The runny yolk adds a rich, creamy texture that pairs well with the spicy tempeh.

Variations

  1. Different Grains:
    • Substitute brown rice with other grains like quinoa, farro, or barley for a different texture and flavor profile.

  1. Protein Alternatives:
    • Instead of tempeh, you can use tofu, seitan, or even grilled chicken or shrimp for non-vegetarian options.
  2. Additional Vegetables:
    • Feel free to add or substitute other vegetables such as bell peppers, edamame, or snap peas. Seasonal vegetables can also be used to keep the dish fresh and exciting throughout the year.
  3. Sauce Variations:
    • Experiment with different sauces such as miso glaze, peanut sauce, or a simple soy sauce and ginger dressing for variety.

Serving Suggestions

  1. Cold or Hot:
    • This dish can be enjoyed either hot or cold. The flavors meld beautifully when served cold, making it an excellent option for a refreshing summer meal.
  2. Accompaniments:
    • Serve with a side of kimchi or pickled vegetables for added tang and probiotics.

  1. Beverage Pairing:
    • Pair this dish with a light, crisp white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc, or a refreshing green tea to complement the flavors.

FAQs : 

1. What is Gochujang?

Answer: Gochujang is a traditional Korean chili paste made from fermented soybeans, red chili powder, glutinous rice, and salt. It has a unique flavor profile that is spicy, sweet, and savory, adding depth and complexity to dishes.

2. Is Gochujang very spicy?

Answer: Gochujang has a moderate level of spiciness, but the heat can vary depending on the brand. It’s a balanced spice with a bit of sweetness, making it approachable for most people. If you are sensitive to spice, you can reduce the amount used in the recipe.

3. What is Tempeh, and how is it different from Tofu?

Answer: Tempeh is a fermented soybean product that has a firm texture and a nutty flavor. Unlike tofu, which is made from soy milk, tempeh is made from whole soybeans, giving it a higher protein and fiber content. The fermentation process also adds probiotics, which are beneficial for gut health.

4. Can I use tofu instead of tempeh?

Answer: Yes, you can substitute tofu for tempeh in this recipe. Firm or extra-firm tofu works best. Make sure to press the tofu to remove excess water before cooking, so it absorbs the gochujang glaze better.

5. How can I make this dish gluten-free?

Answer: To make this dish gluten-free, use tamari instead of soy sauce in the gochujang glaze. Ensure that all other ingredients, such as the gochujang, are certified gluten-free.

6. What can I use instead of brown rice?

Answer: You can substitute brown rice with other grains like quinoa, farro, barley, or even white rice. Each grain will offer a different texture and flavor profile, allowing you to customize the dish to your preference.

7. How do I store leftovers?

Answer: Store leftover tempeh and rice in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Store the vegetables separately to keep them fresh. Reheat the tempeh and rice in the microwave or on the stovetop before serving.

8. Can I freeze this dish?

Answer: Yes, you can freeze the gochujang-glazed tempeh and cooked brown rice. Place them in separate airtight containers or freezer bags. They can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. The vegetables are best prepared fresh.

9. How can I adjust the sweetness or spiciness of the glaze?

Answer: To adjust the sweetness, add more or less maple syrup or honey to taste. For spiciness, adjust the amount of gochujang used. If you prefer a milder flavor, reduce the gochujang or add a tablespoon of water to the glaze.

10. What other vegetables can I add to the bowl?

Answer: You can add a variety of vegetables such as bell peppers, edamame, snap peas, roasted sweet potatoes, or broccoli. Seasonal vegetables also work well, allowing you to customize the bowl based on what’s available.

11. What protein options can I use besides tempeh?

Answer: Besides tempeh, you can use tofu, seitan, grilled chicken, shrimp, or beef. Each protein option will offer a different taste and texture, allowing you to vary the dish according to dietary preferences.

12. How do I make the dish vegan?

Answer: This dish is naturally vegan as it uses tempeh and plant-based ingredients. Ensure that the gochujang used does not contain any animal products.

13. Can I make the gochujang glaze ahead of time?

Answer: Yes, you can prepare the gochujang glaze in advance. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Give it a good stir before using it to ensure the ingredients are well combined.

14. What are the health benefits of this dish?

Answer: This dish is packed with nutrients. Tempeh provides high-quality protein, probiotics, and essential amino acids. Brown rice is a good source of fiber, B vitamins, and minerals. The assorted vegetables add a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Gochujang offers capsaicin, which has metabolism-boosting properties.

15. How can I make this dish more kid-friendly?

Answer: To make the dish more kid-friendly, reduce the amount of gochujang in the glaze to make it less spicy. You can also add a bit more sweetness with extra maple syrup or honey. Serve the vegetables and tempeh separately, allowing kids to build their own bowls with their favorite ingredients.

16. Can I serve this dish cold?

Answer: Yes, this dish can be enjoyed either hot or cold. When served cold, the flavors meld beautifully, making it a great option for a refreshing summer meal or as a convenient meal prep option.

17. What can I serve with Gochujang-Glazed Tempeh & Brown Rice Bowls?

Answer: Serve this dish with a side of kimchi or pickled vegetables for added tang and probiotics. A light, crisp white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or a refreshing green tea pairs well with the flavors.

18. How long does it take to prepare this dish?

Answer: The total preparation and cooking time for this dish is about 1 hour. This includes cooking the brown rice, preparing the gochujang glaze, cooking the tempeh, and preparing the vegetables.

19. What type of pan should I use to cook the tempeh?

Answer: Use a large skillet or a non-stick pan to cook the tempeh. This ensures even cooking and prevents the tempeh from sticking to the pan. A cast-iron skillet also works well for getting a nice, golden-brown sear on the tempeh.

20. Can I add a poached or fried egg to the bowl?

Answer: Yes, adding a poached or fried egg on top of the bowl is a great way to increase the protein content and add a rich, creamy texture. The runny yolk pairs well with the spicy, savory tempeh.

By answering these frequently asked questions, you can gain a better understanding of how to make and customize Gochujang-Glazed Tempeh & Brown Rice Bowls to suit your taste preferences and dietary needs. Enjoy creating and savoring this flavorful and nutritious dish!

Conclusion

Gochujang-Glazed Tempeh & Brown Rice Bowls are a versatile and flavorful dish that can easily be adapted to suit various dietary preferences and taste profiles. The combination of spicy gochujang, hearty tempeh, and nutrient-rich vegetables makes it a well-rounded meal that is as satisfying as it is healthy. Whether you’re looking to spice up your weekly meal plan or impress guests with a vibrant and nutritious dish, this recipe is sure to become a favorite in your culinary repertoire. Enjoy the delightful blend of flavors and the nutritional benefits that come with each bite of this delectable bowl.

Also Read: Stone Fruit and Frangipane Toast

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