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Dhal Soup with Spiced Tempeh


From my recent series on SBS Food ‘Peter Kuruvita’s Coastal Kitchen’ this recipe was inspired by Michael Joyce, a passionate local Sunshine Coast farmer you met in Episode 5. Michael farms ginger, turmeric & has been making the organic soy tempeh since 1981. This has become one of my favourite vegetarian dishes.
I also learned that to ensure the tempeh sucks in as much flavour as possible, it’s best to freeze it first, this causes the cell wall to break and allow all the flavour of your marinade in.

You can view the recipe on the SBS Food website:


2 x 250g packets of tempeh, frozen overnight then slowly defrosted over the day
500ml (2 cups) coconut oil, for frying
5 spring onions, shredded
50g Greek style yoghurt, to serve

Tempeh Marinade
2 knobs of ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
250ml (1 cup) light soy sauce
1 long red chilli, chopped
150ml mirin

Dhal Soup
110g (1/2 cup) green lentils
120g (1/2 cup) chana dhal
100g (1/2 cup) red lentils
2 tsp freshly grated turmeric or 1 tsp ground turmeric
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
100ml virgin coconut oil
5 dried whole chillies, split
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp dill seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp black sesame seeds
2 tsp black cracked pepper
1 tbsp garam masala, plus extra to serve
2 tsp salt


*You will need to begin this recipe the day prior.
Marinating time: 6 hours
Freezing time: Overnight

When the tempeh has defrosted, slice each block into 4 pieces, then cut it in half.

To make the marinade, combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Add the tempeh, then cover and refrigerate for 6 hours.

To make the dhal soup, soak the green lentils and chana dhal together in cold water for 30 minutes. Drain and place in a fine sieve with the red lentils and rinse thoroughly under cold running water to remove the starch. Place in a large saucepan with the onion, garlic, turmeric and 1 litre water and bring to the boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the lentils are soft and pulpy.

Heat the coconut oil in a small heavy-based frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the chillies and all the spices except the garam masala and salt and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the chillies change colour. Stir in the garam masala and some liquid from the dhal and stir to combine well. Add the spice mix to the dhal, then cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until thickened and reduced. Season with salt.

Meanwhile, heat the 500 ml (2 cups) coconut oil in a small heavy-based frying pan or wok to around 180˚C or drop a piece of bread into the oil and if it pops up to the top, the oil is hot. Working carefully, drop single pieces of tempeh into the hot oil, cooking quickly to seal the marinade inside.

Divide the dhal among bowls, and top with the tempeh, a sprinkling of spring onions, a dollop of yoghurt and a pinch of garam masala.

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