Meatless Monday: Tempeh Adobo with Kangkong

Meatless Monday is a new column series by our own RG Enriquez, a.k.a. Astig Vegan. Check out the Archive for more delicious recipes.

  Adobo is undeniably one of the most popular Filipino dishes out there. It’s a Filipino food staple recognized for its seasonings. To those unfamiliar with the dish, Adobo is basically a marinate of different sauces and seasonings such as soy sauce, vinegar, black pepper, and garlic. For my version, I’m incorporating a new vegan favorite: tempeh. Honestly, I used to think tempeh is nasty, then I realized I was just trying bad tempehs. After eventually discovering the authentic kind, here’s what I learned: always get the organic, Indonesian Style tempeh. Never buy tempeh at the supermarket unless the tempeh is made of pure soybeans (not mixed with grains, rice, etc.). It also makes a difference if it’s organic. My trusted brand so far is “Indonesian Style tempeh by Turtle Island”. My vegan chef friend, Philip Gelb also makes awesome tempeh from scratch (not sure if he’s selling them though). To make the tempeh Adobo even more special, I added the vegetable Kang-kong or water spinach (sold at most Asian stores in the US as “On-choy“). Kang-kong Adobo is gaining popularity at restaurants in Philippines as more and more Filipinos incorporate a meatless diet.  


Makes 6-8 servings  INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 packs of organic tempeh, thinly sliced
  • 1 handful Kang-kong/water spinach or On-choy at Asian supermarkets , chopped in 1 to 2 inch lenght
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, thoroughly crushed
  • 8 tbsp. organic tamari (or more to taste)
  • pinch of freshly cracked black peppers
  • bunch of fresh sweet basil (or dried bay leaves)
  • 6-8 tbsp cooking oil
  • Adobo usually uses vinegar but because tempeh could bring out a nice, subtle acidity once marinated, there’s no need to use vinegar.
  • Adobo is best enjoyed with rice.
  • You could either boil the tempeh in hot water for 10 minutes then transfer to the marinate and marinate for about 20 minutes or fry the tempeh first then add the seasonings. I prefer the latter for a firmer, fried texture. Try doing half-half and see which one you would like better.
  1. In a medium pan, heat the oil then add the garlic. Saute until the garlic is slightly golden.
  2. Add the tempeh. Fry until each side of the tempeh is dark brown (be careful not to burn it though).
  3. Add the tamari, basil, and black pepper. Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
  4. Incoporate the Kang-kong to the pan and combine well. Lower the heat and simmer until the Kang-kong has wilted. Add more tamari and pepper to taste. Pour a bit more cooking oil for a richer taste. Turn off the heat and transfer to a serving plate.
  5. Serve with a side of rice. Garnish with slices of apricots (yummy but optional).
  Ms. RG Enriquez is a recipe developer and blogger at She cooks and writes about vegan Filipino food, to prove that Filipino food can be vegan, healthy, and delicious-without losing its soul. You can also follow her on Twitter – @AstigVegan