Saturday, October 20, 2012

Iron Chef - Potatoes and Sesame

The fine organizers of Vegan MoFo chose two awesome ingredients for this edition of Iron Chef: potatoes and sesame. Potatoes are one of my all time favorite foods. I can't think of any way I don't like to eat them. I have to say fried potato products are like crack to me. I am trying hard not to eat a lot of fried foods these days, so when this challenge came up I had to muster all of my will-power not to fire up the fryer.

Sesame has several forms that are awesome in many types of cuisines. I just happened to have whole sesame seeds, tahini and toasted sesame oil in my pantry. So many options went through my head: sushi, sesame potato cakes, curry, gyoza, soup, Asian potato skins, lettuce wraps. They all sounded sooooo yummy, however, none of these came to be for this challenge. Instead I opted to make a salad; not just your run of the mill salad. This salad has it all; protein, starch, vegetables, savory mushrooms and lots of flavor!

It has several components and lots of ingredients, but it is actually pretty simple to make. I recommend making the dressing and marinating the tempeh and mushrooms a day ahead of time. Make sure to read the recipe all the way through before starting so you can decide on your plan of action. The day of assembly, I recommend starting your potatoes first. They will need some time to roast and cool. You don't want them to be super hot, just warm.

Sesame Crusted Tempeh Asian Salad with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Makes 4 entree portions

Prepare Tempeh and Mushrooms for marinating:

1 - 8 oz package tempeh, cut into 12 thin rectangles
4 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced


1cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon low sodium tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon red miso
3 tablespoons black bean garlic sauce
1 teaspoon dried thai basil or 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced

Steam sliced tempeh for 15 minutes. While tempeh is steaming, whisk marinade ingredients together in a 11" x 7" rectangular non-reactive pan, or any pan that will hold the tempeh in one layer. While tempeh is still hot, place in single layer in the marinade. Add shiitake mushrooms to the pan. Marinade 8 hours or overnight, turning tempeh once about half way through.


1 small head savoy cabbage, thinly sliced, washed and drained (approx 7 cups)
1 large red bell pepper, very thinly sliced
2 green onions, both green and white parts, thinly sliced
1 recipe dressing (see recipe below)

marinated tempeh and mushrooms from above
Spray oil for pan
1/4 cup each black and regular sesame seeds, combined in a shallow bowl
Roasted potatoes from above

In a large bowl, toss savoy cabbage, red peppers, green onions and dressing until vegetables are evenly coated. Set aside until ready to assemble.

Spray a 10 inch iron skillet or non-stick skillet with spray oil. Heat over medium high heat. Add shiitake mushrooms and sauté until just browned, about 4 minutes. Remove mushrooms from pan and set aside to cool to room temp (a little warmer is actually even better).

Re-spray pan with oil. Dredge marinated tempeh in sesame seed mixture until evenly coated. Place coated tempeh in preheated pan. Sear for 3 minutes. Gently turn tempeh and sear other side for about 3 minutes. Turn heat off and leave tempeh in pan to keep warm.

Assemble the salad:

Divide salad mixture evenly among 4 plates or large shallow bowls. Arrange 3 slices of sesame coated tempeh on each plate. In the center of the salad place 1/4 of the sauteed shiitake mushrooms. Add 1/4 of the roasted potatoes evenly around the edge of the plate.


1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons coconut milk
1 tablespoon red miso
1/2 - 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce (or more if you like it really hot)
1 large clove garlic, minced
salt to taste

Blend all ingredients in a blender or with a stick blender until smooth. Will keep for up to a week in the fridge.

Yesterday was such a full day for me, I barely got my post up. I did not include the winner of American Vegan Kitchen. I won't leave it out today. The winner is...

#5 - Jeni!!!

I agree Jeni! No diner experience would be complete without pie. There are a couple of great pie recipes for you to try in your brand new copy of AVK! Please make sure to contact me with your shipping information at vegintraining at g mail dot com. Congrats!!

Make sure to come back tomorrow. It's going to be an exciting day! I will be reviewing the upcoming Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero and yes I will also be giving away a copy to one lucky winner.


  1. So creative and superyumful! I love the potato/sesame combo, and the marinating and crusting steps, and the rich healthy blend of ingredients...all of it together sounds so good! Many thanks for sharing it. :)

  2. Oh, YUM! Beautiful job, hope you win VIC!

    And I'll be back tomorrow, been dying for a copy of Vegan Eats World! (I already have AVK, so I didn't enter that one, let someone else have a chance at that awesome book, I say!).


    1. I agree. I haven't been entering any give aways for books I already own. Spread the vegan love. VEW is really great. So many great international flavors and dishes.

  3. Wow! That looks so good! i went with sweet potatoes for the color but I wish I had some of yours right now! Roasted potatoes are my fav!

  4. The black and white sesame combo is a thing of beauty... and deliciousness!

    1. I love the way the black and white looks together. It's an easy way to make a dish look fancy.

  5. I love sweet potatoes. I didn't read closely and didn't realize we could use them here. It may have swayed me into a different direction, but I'm glad it didn't. This turned out better than expected. I love fingerlings!