Skip to content

Tempted by tempeh

I like an alliterative title as much as the next blogger.

So, last night, M proposed tempeh for dinner.  Not on its own, of course, but manifested in the 101 Cookbooks TLT sandwich recipe.  (How awesome is 101 Cookbooks?  There’s a fantastic archive of recipes and ideas, and everything I see on that blog I want to cook.  But back to tempeh.)  As sexy as that recipe looks, we lacked soy sauce which seems to be a critical element of the marinade.  Similarly, we were intrigued by the orange pan-glazed tempeh recipe and the maple grilled tempeh with quinoa, but were, again, thwarted by the lack of soy sauce.   I was beginning to lose hope when M suggested tempeh burgers, and then I was off and running again.

Tempeh, according to Aunty Wiki, is a cultured soybean cake which provides a valuable source of cheap protein or vegetarians and an integral part of Indonesian cuisine.  I’m pretty sure that its role in Indonesian cuisine does not extend to burgers.  I used to make rissoles at home a lot, when I still ate meat and lived with my parents, and I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed making the tempeh burgers. I don’t really have a recipe, although I was inspired by Vegan Dad’s recipe.  This is what I did: you’ll notice the procedure has the vague, slapped-together feel that characterises weeknight cooking, but I had a lovely time, pottering about, throwing this or that into the bowl as I fancied.

After simmering the tempeh in water for ten minutes — next time, I will definitely add some stock powder or soy sauce to the water, to heighten the salt content — I simply shredded the tempeh with a cheese grater.  Especially after boiling, it shreds really effectively.  To this I added half a finely-grated carrot, some finely chopped onion and rosemary, a huge blurp of HP sauce, a generous teaspoon of hot English mustard, and some assorted spices and things from my spice cabinet (a bit of cayenne pepper and some salt and some veggie seasoning).  All this made a nice, crumbly, moist mix that I attempted to photograph. Frankly, the lighting in my kitchen isn’t great and my photography skills aren’t fantabulous, so the photo kind of made it look like wet cat biscuits or cheap imitation Weetbix.  Moving on!  I added breadcrumbs until the mix came together and was thick enough to shape into patties and then simply fried them in some oil. We served them with salad, fried onions and mushrooms, cheese and a fried egg each, but I think you could serve them with just about anything — you could have them with baked beans and tomatoes, or on a bun with lettuce and mayo, or, as I did for lunch today, as a cold pattie with a side salad.  I was really impressed with the texture and the taste, and I’m definitely getting more tempeh when I next do the shopping. I wish I had some pictures to break the blanket of text that this post presents, but honestly my photo mojo was definitely in abeyance, and I just couldn’t do them justice.

Despite being vegetarian for three years now, I haven’t really explored much in the way of typical meat substitutes.  On the whole, this is because I haven’t needed to. Apart from the occasional craving for hot dogs that has to be slaked using veggie sausages, I haven’t needed to find any meat substitutes.  I love most vegetables, legumes and grains, and I still eat eggs and cheese and so can get a lot of protein that way.  But tempeh is really nice, and I think I’ll see what else I can do with it.  Especially with those marinades from 101 Cookbooks.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *