Delicious tempeh ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

23 March 2007

Delicious tempeh

Our friend Ryan taught us how to make totally delicious tempeh. He marinates it in soy, ginger, brown sugar, vinegar, rosemary, and olive oil, then sears it until totally delicious. Clearly, this knowledge has made me exceptionally likely to experiment with different marinades.

The essential preparation is always the same: marinate tempeh for at least an hour, then sear until browned on all sides. From there the preparation can vary. We can go in the salad direction, and cut up a hundred vegetables over which to arrange the tempeh artfully. I think this is the most common way we eat tempeh, actually, now that we know the awesomeosity of marinades. However, last night we were not really in the salad family. We didn't have any greens of any type, for one thing. We did have vegetables that want cooking. Clearly, we would have to make a stirfry.

Seared tempeh and vegetables over wild rice


wasabi teriyaki sauce
powdered ginger not fresh boo!
actual fresh rosemary


package of tempeh
half a red onion
several big garlic cloves
a zucchini
most of a green pepper
handful of green beans
dry vermouth
cup of wild/brown rice mix and appropriate water

First, make marinade. I just combined several big glugs of teriyaki sauce with some ginger and a branch of fresh rosemary. Go ahead and experiment with whatever sounds good to you; just make sure there's enough liquid to cover your tempeh.

Cut your tempeh into cubes, or whatever shape you like, and lay them in the marinade. I never make quite enough marinade to cover, so I end up turning the pieces instead. It's no big deal. Let the tempeh marinate for at least an hour, such that it will be savory and delicious.

Make wild rice in the rice cooker while everything else is going on. Wild rice was a substantial part of what made this so good, according to John. Wild rice and tempeh go together like That, apparently. I thought it was pretty good myself.

Get a sauté pan warm and add your tempeh in a single layer. Let it start to crisp and brown while you chop up your red onion and peel your garlic. The red onion was a better choice than yellow here, considering the general tones of teriyaki sauce: it was sufficiently savory, but still a little sweet. When the tempeh is relatively brown on one side, flip it all over, then add the onion and garlic. I left my garlic cloves whole, or cut them in half if particularly huge. This way you get big chunks of sweet garlic along with the other sweetness later. Add the leftover marinade (but no stray bits of rosemary branch!) and stir it all up together. If at any point the bottom of the pan gets all sticky with marinade, deglaze it with dry vermouth. Oh, my sweet dry vermouth.

Look at that!

Cook relatively slowly until the onion softens and the garlic starts to caramelize. Chop up all your vegetables while you're waiting. I would particularly recommend zucchini here. Zucchini LOVES this stuff. I mean, I also love zucchini in a more general sense, but still. This is perhaps the best use of zucchini. The green pepper and beans worked excellently as well. Other vegetables that would be good: red pepper, mushrooms, other summer squashes, maybe some snow peas.

Add your vegetables and cook, making sure both sides of the tempeh get browned, until everything is tender and clearly delicious. Deglaze if necessary; add a bit of olive oil if necessary. Taste a piece. Is it good? Does it need anything? I'll tell you what it doesn't need: salt. It is criminally easy to oversalt tempeh, especially with a soy-based marinade. Did you know: teriyaki sauce is just soy sauce with more seasonings! So: no more salt.


When everything is done, add a bit of olive oil to the rice and stir it up a bit, to get it moist. Serve the tempeh and vegetables over said rice. It is delicious.

We had Guinness with this, because it was be kind to Guinness night. Be kind to it by putting it in the freezer, getting it ice cold, then drinking it. Happy Guinness!

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