amy chaplin

celebrating the art of eating well

Summer whole wheat udon noodle salad with tempeh

POSTED ON August 30, 2009

summer whole wheat udon noodle salad

This noodle salad has lovely golden triangles of tempeh, which means I get to give you a recipe for the quick and easy way I cook tempeh at home. Prepared like this I use it in nori rolls and tempeh burgers or to eat with a bowl of grain. I don’t usually add mirin but here, it seems to complement the Asian flavors and gives the tempeh a nice gloss.

Tempeh is a highly nutritious energy building food that contains omega-3 fatty acids and a protein content of 19.5%. Unlike other soy products tempeh is a whole food made of fermented cooked soybeans that are bound together with a mould called Rhyzopus oligosporus. This mould produces a natural (heat stable) antibiotic that helps support immune system function. The fermentation process also makes tempeh easier to digest. Tempeh is rich in B vitamins and traditionally made or homemade tempeh is one of the richest sources of B12, unfortunately commercially made tempeh does not contain the vitamin.

I love tempeh and learnt how to make it in a most inspiring fermentation workshop with Sandor Katz (which I have been dying to tell you about). We made it with black rice one afternoon and ate it for breakfast the next morning; it was nutty, fragrant, with an unexpected kind of fruity flavor. Delicious!

Eating chilled noodles this week on a humid New York day cooled and soothed me, for a few days actually, as I had made a lot. I had my reasons for making such a large batch, I wanted to give some to a friend who had just given birth and since I had a busy week ahead of me, I knew I’d be too tired to cook. These noodles seemed perfect as they store well and can be eaten cold.

The first day the salad was enjoyed with pea shoots, the next with steamed kale and then today for lunch with avocado and kimchee. Yum!

I am giving you the recipe halved, you can always double it if you’re serving a crowd or want to eat it for days on end.



cooking tempeh

ready to toss


8 oz tempeh
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoon tamari
2 teaspoon mirin

Cut tempeh in half across the center, cut each piece in half so you have 4 strips. Slice each strip horizontally and then in into 3 squares, cut each square into 2 triangles.
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add tempeh in one layer and cook for a few minutes on each side until golden. This may take 2 batches, depending on the size of your skillet. Once all the tempeh is cooked, place back in the skillet and sprinkle tamari and mirin over tempeh along with 3 to 4 tablespoons water, shake pan and let it simmer until all the liquid has evaporated. Set aside.

Whole wheat udon noodle salad
2 small Middle Eastern cucumbers, finely sliced
large pinch sea salt
1  8 oz pack whole wheat udon noodles, cooked and drained
4 raddishes, finely sliced
3 scallions, finely sliced
1 ear sweet corn, steamed and shucked

1 inch ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 teaspoon minced red chili, or more to taste
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
2 tablespoons tamari
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted black sesame seeds

Place cucumbers in a bowl and sprinkle with salt, toss well and set aside.This lightly pickles them, giving them a nice texture and stops the salad from getting watery.
In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients for the marinade, whisk and add noodles. Mix well and taste for seasoning.
Strain cucumbers and squeeze out liquid, place in bowl with noodles, add raddishes, scallions, sweet corn and tempeh. Gently toss, best to use your hands here, serve immediately or chilled.
Serves 4


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