Wednesday, August 24, 2011
I'll be burgered if these taste like tempeh!
Tempeh has been troubling me for many months. Several experiments with tempeh have left me totally underwhelmed and extremely frustrated. Despite my efforts at pre-steaming, marinating, baking, stewing and pan-frying, tempeh has always left a funny taste in my mouth, literally speaking.
My first experiment was a tempeh bacon recipe to which the man, son and I had an unanimous agreement. It wasn't that bad but we all preferred tofu bacon. My next foray with tempeh was using a Viva Vegan recipe, tempeh asado. The tempeh was pre-steamed to remove the bitter taste, marinated in lime juice and spices and then pan-fried. The only thing that made me happy that night was the delicious gallo pinto (Costa Rican refried rice and beans) that was served with the unappetising tempeh. Tempeh asado was the first recipe from Viva Vegan to get a big thumbs down from me.
A smoky tempeh, white beans and greens stew from Appetite for Reduction was a slight improvement on my last tempeh trial although I did ensure that the amount of beans and greens on my plate was significantly greater than the tempeh pieces. Baked marinated tempeh was my next attempt which was another miserable fail. At this stage, the man was the only one interested in tempeh but I felt like I needed to persevere. Surely, there must be a way that I could enjoy it!
The tempeh experiments were given a rest for a couple of months until I recently discovered a packet of marinated tempeh hiding in the back of the fridge which was almost due to expire. I thought about how to use the tempeh and decided on burgers as they are usually a winner and were something that I hadn't tried yet. A quick search let me to Vegan Dad who had a tempeh burger recipe that sounded promising as it was full of an abundance of herbs and spices plus none of his recipes had let me down so far.
My son made a face when I told him we were having tempeh burgers for dinner. Like me, he hadn't been a fan up to that point. I tried to keep his interest up by stressing that I had high hope for these burgers and that we needed to keep an open mind. One bite was all that it took to win us both over! The burgers were delicious, so many wonderful herbs and spices could be detected (they were probably over flavoured due to using pre-marinated tempeh but it worked for us!) and there was no disgusting taste at all this time around.
Although I have finally had success with a tempeh recipe, I'm still no convert and would choose tofu over tempeh any day of the week. I would like to keep trying tempeh recipes in the hope that it will grow on me eventually. So I wanted to ask bloggers and readers their thoughts about tempeh.
What's your favorite tempeh recipe? Was it love at first bite or did it take some time for you to embrace tempeh?
Tempeh burgers (Adapted from Vegan Dad)
300g packet marinated tempeh, grated
1/2 generous cup breadcrumbs
1/3 generous cup gluten flour
2 teaspoons ground fennel seed
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons tamari
1 tablespoon BBQ sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/2 teaspoon massell gravy powder
2-4 tablespoons water (I used about 2.5)
Place the grated tempeh, breadcrumbs, gluten flour, ground fennel seed, sage, thyme, oregano, parsley, garlic and onion powder in a large bowl and mix well. Add the tamari, BBQ sauce, ketchup and enough water to make a pliable dough. Knead in the bowl for a few minutes until the ingredients are well combined.
Divide dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball then flatten into a thin burger. Spray a frying pan with olive oil spray and cook for about 5 minutes on each side until lightly browned.