Baja tacos-1

Baja Tempeh Tacos

Serves 4-8

I have made these a few times now, and every time I forget to measure things. I finally did it tonight (well, mostly), and I am very happy to be able to share the recipe.

I always break these out on taco night, alongside a number of healthier fillings. I have fearlessly fed these to people who are not accustomed to eating things such as tempeh. Simmering the tempeh really changes its flavour, and, well, what doesn’t taste good covered in crispy batter?

You could serve this battered seaweed tempeh with chips instead of course, but I love tacos, and I’m too lazy to fry chips at home.

I put coriander on these for everyone else. I hate it, so I have mine without. While it enhances them if it doesn’t taste like soap to you, it certainly isn’t necessary.


For the tempeh

1 300g packet tempeh

2 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce

2 tsp sugar

3 cups water

5 sheets of nori

3/4 cup plain flour, plus more as needed

1/2 to 3/4 cup cold soda water OR a mild tasting beer, as needed

1 large pinch chilli powder

1 large pinch salt

Sunflower or canola oil, for deep frying

 For the Slaw

3 cups shredded cabbage (purple preferred)

2 carrots, grated

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

pinch salt, or to taste

For the Sauce

1 ripe avocado

1 tbsp lime juice, or to taste

1/4 cup water, plus more as needed

salt to taste

1 tsp sugar

1 chipotle chilli in adobo sauce

1 clove garlic

To Assemble

16 soft corn tortillas, warm

Fresh coriander, unless you hate it

Fresh lime wedges


1. Mix the slaw ingredients together in a bowl. Place in the fridge while you do everything else.

2. Cut the tempeh along the shorter edge into slices 5mm thick. You should get around 16 pieces. Slice these in half lengthwise to create long, thin strips. Place the water, vegetarian oyster sauce and sugar into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the tempeh and simmer for 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, cut the sheets of nori into eight even rectangles using a pair of scissors. One at a time, wrap each piece of tempeh up in the seaweed, as shown below. Place each piece seam-down onto a flat surface – the moisture from the tempeh will seal the seaweed.

tempeh seaweed

4. Place the sauce ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Add a little more water if necessary. Adjust lime juice and seasonings to taste and set aside.

5. Place the soda water, chilli and salt into a mixing bowl. Whisk in the flour until you have a batter just very slightly thinner than pancake batter. If you prefer a thicker batter than the one shown, add more flour.

6. Heat  three inches of oil in a wok (or whatever you use to deep fry) over high heat. You want the oil to be very hot, but not smoking. To test if the oil is hot enough, drop in a tiny bit of batter. It should bubble up immediately. Reduce heat a little to maintain temperature. Dip the tempeh into the batter and gently drop into the oil. Fry four pieces at a time until lightly golden, turning half way through. Remove from the oil and place onto a towel lined tray. Keep the tray in the oven to keep everything nice and crispy while you fry the remainder of the tempeh.

7. To assemble the tacos, spread a tablespoon or two of the sauce onto each tortilla, and top with two pieces of tempeh and some coleslaw. Or stuff more in, who am I to tell you how much to put in your taco. Sprinkle with coriander if using, and serve extra sauce and lime wedges on the side. Eat immediately.

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