I’ve never cooked tempeh before and I’ve only eaten it once or twice. Basically, D doesn’t like “fake” meat, so I assumed he wouldn’t like it because it’s kind of “meaty.” Then I saw some at the store and decided “screw it,” and bought it anyway. I decided to slip it into a dish and we’d see what he says. Like when someone swears they don’t like Chinese food, then you make them sweet and sour tofu and they love it. Or when you’re sure you don’t like green olives, but when presented with tomato juice and vodka, it changes everything (that would be me).
But I digress…I did a quick search for tempeh recipes and quickly came upon one that sounded unique — something that’s neither Asian or Mexican (which seems to be happening a lot lately). I stumbled on the recipe on the blog 101 Cookbooks, which had gotten the recipe from Australian cookbook author Jude Blereau.
The recipe definitely was a success! We both loved it (D was glad I decided to ignore his imaginary tempeh aversion!) and it was so nice to have a completely new flavor going on. The recipe calls for one 10 oz. package of tempeh and I had two 8 oz. packages on hand, so I just decided to go for it and throw both in. This was fine, but I really should have also doubled the orange glaze/sauce. The flavor was there and it definitely seeped into the quinoa I served it over, but you can never have too much sauce, right? The more the merrier I say.
It was really easy and really delicious. I’ll definitely make this again soon.
OH — not sure what the heck tempeh is? Check out www.tempeh.info — but don’t be afraid. There’s talk of fermentation and mold, but it’s made out of soybeans, just like tofu. It’s a great source of protein, is great for digestion, heart health, it’s said to ease menopause symptoms and so much more. And don’t be afraid if it’s a little black or looks moldy — that’s normal.
On with the recipe!
• 1 c. freshly squeezed orange juice (4 big navel oranges did it for me)
• 1 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger
• 2 tsp. tamari (or soy sauce)
• 1 1/2 Tbsp. mirin
• 2 tsp. maple syrup
• 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
• 2 small garlic gloves, crushed
• roughly 10 oz tempeh or extra firm tofu
• 2 Tbsp. olive oil
• 1/2 lime
• a handful of cilantro leaves
1. Put the orange juice in a bowl. Squeeze grated ginger or the bowl to extract the juices (I used cheesecloth, but you can just use your fingers/hands obviously), then discard the pulp. Add the maple syrup, tamari (I used soy sauce), mirin (oops — I forgot to buy some at the store! Since it sits somewhere between sake and rice vinegar, I used rice vinegar, then put a little extra syrup in for sweetness), ground coriander and garlic. Mix and set aside.
2. Cut the tempeh or tofu into thin-ish bite-sized pieces, patting tofu dry with paper towel if that’s what you’re using. I was using tempeh, so I cut the entire block in half lengthwise (so I had two long, thin rectangles), then cut it into triangles, to mimic the picture on 101 Cookbooks.
3. Put the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the tempeh in a single layer and fry for 5 minutes or until golden underneath. Then flip and cook the other side for 5 minutes (this was the only other problem with doubling the tempeh — there wasn’t room for all of it to fry at once, but I worked it out).
4. Pour the orange juice mixture into the pan and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced to a thick glaze. Turn the tempeh once more during this time and spoon the sauce over it from time to time (I mostly just stirred it up/flipped the tempeh around from time to time…). Again, I wish I had doubled it considering the fact that I used 16 oz. of tempeh. But for 10 oz., I’m sure this amount of sauce is perfect.
5. Serve it drizzled with any extra sauce, sprinkle with cilantro and squeeze a wedge of lime over it before eating. I served it over mixed quinoa (half traditional, half red), which was delicious and perfect! My friend Erin schooled me on quinoa when I told her about this dish. I knew it was delicious and had a lot of protein, but did you know quinoa (pronounced keen-wah, by the way) is the only non-animal complete protein containing all essential amino acids? It has more protein than any of its grain counterparts and is supposed to digest easier than other grains. (And it cooks in about 15 minutes, versus the 45 rice takes — I like that!)
I had some kale on hand, so I served this with some kale on the side…with a ridiculously good peanut sauce. I’ve tampered with the recipe a bit since I posted it (essentially adding 1/2 to 3/4 can of coconut milk), but I first came upon this kale-peanut sauce combo thanks to my friend Angela at our first cooking club gathering. Since there are some similar flavors going on in both dishes (ginger, soy, garlic, rice wine vinegar…) I decided to go for it. I mean, you can’t go wrong with peanut sauce in any situation, I say.
I’m officially a tempeh convert… in fact, I’m off to make a new recipe now — stand by!