Looking back at my recipes, I realized I haven’t written about yet another soy product that pops into my kitchen now and then – . Originating from Indonesia, tempeh is prepared by fermenting soybeans with a starter. More about it and .
For a vegan product, it may look strange. Its distinct nutty taste and grainy texture may require some getting used to. The first time I tasted tempeh, I felt it was too harsh for my palette. I reverted back to tofu, gained knowledge on how to spice up tofu products, and only then got on terms with tempeh. In due course, its nutty taste was sought after, and naturally, I got creative in cooking with it. Its high protein content was an added bonus.
Also, they stand up to strong marinades, making them ideal for make-ahead meals. Keep them marinated, and make a sandwich as given below. Or add to stir-fries in place of tofu. Or grind with vegetables for croquettes. Our favourite tempeh marinade is Jamaican jerk seasoning.
I buy of Tempeh, as it is the only available one. I have tried almost all the flavours, and frankly, there isn’t much difference once it is coated with spices. Also, I have used a ready-made Jamaican jerk blend (as used in ). The ingredient list includes ginger, brown mustard seed, onion, allspice, garlic, hot paprika, thyme, fennel seed, black pepper, red pepper, cloves.
If you are a fan, like me, then this should grab your attention – Habanero jack cheese, my latest craze. I just couldn’t resist from buying when I saw this at Whole Foods. It lives up to its name, quite a spice kick.Tempeh Sandwich (makes 4 sandwiches)Tempeh – 1 packet, cut into 8 slices
Shredded cheese such as Jack, Cheddar, Swiss – ½ cup
Whole wheat bread – 8 slicesMarinadeJamaican jerk seasoning – 2 tbsp
Green onions/Scallions – 2, chopped
Green chilli – 1
Garlic – 1 clove
Honey or Agave nectar – 1 tbsp
Soy sauce – 1 tbsp
Red wine vinegar – 1 tbsp
Olive oil – 2 tbsp
Juice of half a lemon
Water – as neededSpice spreadOnion - 1 small, finely chopped
Tomato - 1, finely chopped
Red pepper flakes – 1 tsp
Garlic – 1 clove, minced
A spray of oilPineapple salsaPineapple – 2 cups, small dice
Red onion – ½ cup, small dice
Red bell pepper – ½ cup, small dice
Green chilli – 1, minced
Cilantro – 2 tbsp, finely chopped
Make the marinade by taking all the ingredients in a blender and grinding to a smooth mixture. Sprinkle water, if necessary, to make a loose paste. Coat tempeh slices in the marinade and let rest from at least 30 minutes to overnight.
When ready, preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with foil, lay the slices side-by-side. Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning the slices once in-between. To prevent tempeh from drying too much, you may cover the slices with foil, but I didn’t.
Meanwhile, prepare pineapple salsa by mixing all the ingredients and let the flavours develop. Also, prepare the spice spread by sautéing the listed ingredients, over low flame. The onion and tomato should become soft. Keep the mixture warm.
When tempeh slices are done baking, toast the bread slices. Apply the spice spread and immediately sprinkle with cheese. The heat from the spread will slightly melt the cheese. Top with 2 slices of tempeh, and another slice of toast. Serve pineapple salsa on the side. Omit cheese for a vegan sandwich.