Thursday, August 24, 2006

Banana-Tempeh Saute

A few years ago I had good luck experimenting with cooking bananas. I was making dinner for a friend for his birthday, and served tempura vegetables. I had extra batter so decided to try something unusual, and battered and sauteed banana slices. It came out well I thought - and my friend adored it.

Tonight I tried directly sauteeing banana slices to make a slightly sweet and mostly savory main course. After I had a brown and wild rice mixture going with vegetable broth in my rice cooker, I sauteed a little bit of onion for just a minute or so, then added cubed tempeh. As the tempeh just started turning brown, I added sliced bananas and chopped red bell pepper. I sauteed till the tempeh was golden brown. The banana cooked down and wasn't so visible - but I thought it packed a good flavor punch and next time wouldn't add a second banana. Before serving, I spiced the dish with some Caribbean hot sauce and a dash of fresh squeezed lime (both added maybe half a minute before turning off the heat) and spices, including black salt (actually pink; the Hindi name for this sulfurous unrefined salt is kala namak), turmeric, and roasted cumin seeds. I served this all with roasted corn off-the-cob that had fresh lime, Earth Balance non-hydrogenated margarine, and salt mixed in.

I liked the banana-tempeh main course, and my wife seemed to thoroughly enjoy it. The flavors accented by the serving with an avocado slice made the dinner somewhat tropical (though the corn dissented). I would like to cook bananas again in the near future.


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