Tempeh Five Ways

“Tempeh is a traditional soy product originating from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form. Tempeh is unique among major traditional soy foods in that it is the only one that did not originate from Greater Chinese cuisine.” –Wikipedia

Rich and nutty, tempeh packs 31 grams of protein per cup, making it a pantry staple for vegetarians, macrobiotic folk, and vegans. Here are several ways to prepare tempeh.

Use a Cajun blackening spice mix to add punch. Brush tempeh patties with sesame oil, coat them with the spice mix, and sear in a hot frying pan. Let the spices smoke for 5-10 seconds to blacken. Add to salads, stir fries, and Cajun Dirty Rice.

Add crumbled, grated, or cubed tempeh to spaghetti sauce, stews, chilies, and curries. It will absorb the flavors of the dish as it cooks.

Grilling or frying tempeh until the edges turn crispy enhances its natural nutty flavor. Thinly slicing tempeh (1/4″) will add crispiness to the edges while retaining a chewy interior.

I create marinades for tempeh according to the type of food I’m cooking—
Japanese: soy sauce and rice wine
Italian: balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic
Polynesian: citrus juice, ginger, rice syrup
Thai: coconut milk, peanut butter, ginger, garlic
…After marinating, grill, bake, or sauté.

Olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar, or sesame oil and rice vinegar, create a fast infusion of flavor in these two recipes.


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