2018 Plant Based Challenge Closed 4th November

Emma Galloway goes Sweet and Sour

Taste Emma's dish at the Little Bird Unbakery (ponsonby) or create it at home.

We challenged Emma Galloway of My Darling Lemon Thyme to create a plant based dish for the Little Bird Organics Plant Based Challenge. The result? This incredibly delicious and fragrant dish. Make his dish at home or taste it at The Little Bird Unbakery Café from the 15th to the 21st October, with $1 from each sale going to Garden to Table.

Want to get involved in the Little Bird Organics Plant Based Challenge yourself? Post your own creation to Facebook or Instagram with #PlantBasedChallengeNZ anytime from now until 4th November for the chance to win over $5,000 in prizes; including flights to Auckland for two, an all-new Hyundai Kona Electric for 3 days on Waiheke Island, and two nights luxury accommodation with breakfast and dinner at The Boat Shed. Find out more

Emma Galloway’s Sweet + sour lemongrass tempeh

Garlic, chilli and lemongrass form the basis of this beautiful dish, along with a few other goodies thrown in for good measure. Tamarind with its naturally sweet and sour flavour is such a wonderful ingredient and I always make sure I have some at hand. You can pick it up easily in solid block form for a couple of bucks at any good Asian or Indian grocer.

Serves 4 with rice


1 1/2 tablespoons (30g) tamarind pulp

1/2 cup (125ml) boiling water

300g packet of tempeh, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced thinly

2-3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil to shallow-fry + sauté

1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1 tablespoon finely grated ginger

1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, finely chopped*

2 tablespoons coconut sugar

1 tablespoon gluten-free soy sauce or tamari

Sea salt and ground white pepper, to taste

Cooked white or brown jasmine rice, to serve

Stir fried Asian greens, to serve

Sliced chili, coriander and Thai basil leaves, to serve (optional)


Combine tamarind pulp and boiling water. Set aside for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to dissolve the pulp. Pass mixture through a fine strainer set over a bowl, scrapping with a metal spoon to get as much of the tamarind liquid through as you can. Keep tamarind liquid and discard pulp/seeds.

Heat 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add tempeh slices (you may need to do this in two batches depending on the size of your pan) and fry 2-3 minutes each side or until lovely and golden. Transfer to a plate. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel and add another 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Stir-fry onion, garlic, ginger and lemongrass for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly until tender and golden. Add tempeh back into the pan along with the sugar, tamarind liquid and soy sauce. Cook while stirring until liquid has reduced to a glaze and is coating the tempeh. Season to taste with sea salt and ground white pepper and serve over cooked jasmine rice, with a side of stir-fried Asian greens. Scatter with chopped chilies and herbs if desired.

*To prepare lemongrass, slice off the bottom 8-10cm of 1 large lemongrass stalk. Reserve green tips for making tea (simply pour over boiling water and steep) or compost. Slice the tender white end finely and then chop it up as finely as you can. You can also do this in bulk and freeze the finely chopped lemongrass for later use.

* Once your block of tamarind paste is opened, store the un-used portion in a zip-lock bag in the fridge where it will keep indefinitely.



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