29 March 2020

Tempeh Pad Krapow

Crumbled tempeh and tender aubergine pieces stir-fried in a sweet, garlicky, spicy chili & Thai basil sauce. It's packed with flavour, super healthy and quick too, coming together in just 30 minutes.

I absolutely love Asian food and Thai food is no exception. I visited Chiang Mai in Thailand almost 6 years ago now and it was immediately after returning from that trip that I actually went vegan. I didn't get to try this dish whilst visiting, as it's typically made with meat, however, I did get to enjoy lots of other incredible foods. Whilst visiting my parents back in January we went to an incredible Thai restaurant with this dish on the menu and whilst the flavours were incredible, it was actually served with puffed tofu, rather than the typical minced ingredients - after this. I just knew I had to recreate this dish in a slightly more traditional way!

Speaking of traditional, there is a key substitution I made in this recipe that isn't completely authentic, but was necessary due to ingredient availability. Krapow means Holy basil - it's another type of Thai basil with more peppery and clove flavours than the aniseed notes of regular, or sweet Thai basil that you're probably familiar with. Whilst Thai Basil isn't the same, it adds great flavour to the dish and I personally think is a suitable substitution. Most Thai restaurants in the UK will also make this sub, so, if you can't get your hands on Holy basil, let's just roll with using regular Thai basil and accept that this might be the closest we're going to get to the dish outside Thailand. The result is still an absolutely incredible dish that you've just got to try!

Typically you'd serve this delicious dish up with Jasmine rice, I used brown short grain rice for a little extra nutrition, it's a little nutty, chewy and adds some extra fibre into the dish and works really well! Tempeh is one of my favourite ingredients to use too, the slightly sour flavour really lends itself to this dish, adding one of those key flavour notes of Thai cooking and the little nuggets of soy have a lovely chew. It's also loaded with protein, fibre and prebiotics, helping your digestive health and contains lots of important vitamins and minerals like iron, vitamin C, magnesium & some folate too.

Don't be afraid of the spice levels in the dish either, the chilies really do mellow out once pounded in the pestle and mortar and cooked, creating a sauce that's a little spicy and lip-tingling, but not too much so! But if you do want to be on the safe side, you can remove the seeds before crushing the chilies. Once you begin cooking, this dish comes together pretty fast, so it's easier to prep all your items before you begin cooking.

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Tempeh Pad Krapow | Serves: 4 | Time: 30 mins

You'll need

  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Pestle & mortar
  • Saucepan
  • Sieve
  • Wok
  • Spatula or wooden spoon
  • Measuring cups & spoons
  • 3 medium bowls
  • 2 small bowls


  • 1 1/3 cups short-grain brown rice
  • Salt

  • 3 medium-sized red chilies
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil
  • 3 banana shallots
  • 1 aubergine
  • 1 block tempeh
  • 200g green beans

  • 2 tsp red miso
  • 1.5 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 bunch (~20g) Thai or Holy basil leaves


  1. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the rice until al dente and then drain.
  2. Roughly chop the chilies (removing the seeds if you want to reduce the heat, but it will significantly reduce during cooking even with the seeds) and peel and roughly chop the garlic. Add the chilies and garlic to the pestle and mortar and pound for about 5 minutes, so the red colour is released from the chillies and the garlic is mostly smooth.
  3. To prep the rest of the stir fry; finely chop the shallot and place to one side in a small bowl, then dice the aubergine into 1cm pieces and transfer to a medium bowl. Using your hands, crumble the tempeh into the bowl, different size pieces from 1/2 to 2cm will be fine. Then cut the stem end off the green beans, chop into 3 and place to one side.
  4. To make the sauce, mix the miso, soy sauce, sugar and water together in a small bowl. Then pick the basil leaves off the stem and also place to one side.
  5. Now everything is prepped, it's time to begin cooking. Heat up the wok on medium-high heat, then add the oil, followed by the chili garlic paste you've made and the shallots, cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring the pan often and try not to let the garlic colour too much. 
  6. Add the aubergine and tempeh and cook for 7-10 minutes until the aubergine is tender, stirring often.
  7. Then add the green beans and the sauce and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes, if the sauce starts to thicken too much, add a splash of water.
  8. Finally, stir in the basil, then remove from the heat, serve up with the rice and enjoy!

Cassidy xx