Chap Chae with Tempeh: My crazy attempt with Asian.

My husband and my entire family can attest that I am not ‘one with’ Asian food. I love brown rice California rolls and the occasional chicken teriyaki with loads of vegetables. Don’t get me wrong, those are delicious. But there’s something about Chinese buffets and Americanized-Asian take-out that rubs me the wrong way. I lay on the stink eye and cringe when someone suggests eating at buffets like Yummy Yummy Chinese or Crazy Buffet….or, wait for it… Crazy Buffet II. That’s right, there’s a second one.

Enough is enough. I decided to take Asian cuisine matters into my own hands.

Story time:

Once upon a time there was a newlywed-ed couple. They had just moved into together. Well, one day the brand new wife decided she would make a lovely Asian stir-fry for her new husband. She was trying to exemplify how perfectly housewife-ish she could be. She threw some snow peas, carrots, rice, soy sauce and a few other ingredients together in a pan, to make this prize winning dish. And boy was she in for a surprise. The husband sat down at the table, where the wife served a beautifully plated Asian dish. They both sat down, said Grace, and took their first bites. They would quickly discover that these bites would be their last.

The wife looked at her husband, who looked right back at her. With one look, the wife rose from her chair, grabbed both her plate and his, walked to the kitchen, opened the lid of the trash can, and threw every last bit of this dish in the trash. Eww, eww, eww. Never again did the wife attempt to make an another Asian dish, nor did they order any take-out Asian.

Moral of the story: Never make an Asian dish at home unless:

  1. You are from Asian decent and/or have been taught how to cook these extraordinary meals.
  2. You follow a recipe, step by step by step, not leaving out anything, even if that means you have to go to three different stores in your town to get every necessary ingredient.

Last week I decided to opt for option 2, since I have absolutely no Asian bone in my body. I followed the fairly simple recipe from Winnie at Healthy Green Kitchen for Chap Chae with Tempeh. For one, her photos of this dish looked delicious and would be something I would eat. It was full of vegetables. Also, I had never personally cooked with tempeh before and my husband had never tried it. I enjoyed it sautéed on a salad once before and I really wanted my husband to give it a go. Lucky for me, he was brave and tried it. This was very brave of him considering my track record with Asian dishes.

So here it goes…my 2nd attempt at an Asian dish and this time, Korean-style!

See, look at all those gorgeous colors!

Logan went a little camera crazy while he waited for dinner time. Leland got his own photo shoot (photos to come) and he managed to get one of me too. 🙂

Chap Chae with Tempeh

from Healthy Green Kitchen


  • 8 ounces of rice cellophane noodles (or mung bean cellophane noodles or sweet potato vermicelli noodles)
  • 2 tablespoons organic coconut oil (or olive oil)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 3 carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 3 scallions (green parts only), sliced
  • 1 portabella mushroom, sliced small
  • 1 medium zucchini, peeled and julienned
  • 1/2 package (4 ounces) organic flax tempeh, sliced
  • 5 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon organic sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds


  1. Begin preparation on your noodles, cooking them according to the package directions.
  2. In a large pan over medium heat, heat coconut oil and 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil.
  3. Add onion and garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the spinach, carrots, scallions, mushrooms, zucchini, and tempeh and cook for 4-5 minutes, until the vegetables are softened and the tempeh is cooked through.
  5. Turn heat to low and add cellophane noodles, cilantro, tamari, sugar, and the rest of the sesame oil.
  6. Mix to combine and stir-fry for another minute or two.
  7. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add sesame seeds and hot sauce to taste before serving.


  1. I have the same problem… asian food and I do not mesh, at least when I try to make it. Otherwise it is my favorite food to eat! This recipe looks easy enough, and I know I can find all these ingredients in the same place.

  2. The Steamy Kitchen cookbook by Jaden Hair– everything you ever wanted to know about cooking asian food! Try it- You’ll become an asian food master after reading this book!

    1. I need that book. I need Asian to make a come back in my kitchen! 😀 Thanks for the suggestion Melissa!

  3. This looks great! Chap chae, at least how I eat it, is traditionally served cold. The trick to really great chap chae is to let the noodles and veggies cool separately before combining. Never thought to make it with tempeh though!

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