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Tempeh is a delicious, versatile soy-based food that is wonderful grilled, baked, fried, or steamed. It has a great nutty flavor and a satisfying chewy texture.
One 8-ounce package tempeh
1/4 cup tamari soy sauce
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
3 tablespoons real maple syrup
1/4 cup water
Canola oil for frying
Add the block of tempeh to a 3-quart pot fitted with a steamer basket, and steam for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the marinade ingredients: the tamari, liquid smoke, maple syrup, and water. Mix well.
Let the tempeh cool before slicing it into thin bacon-size strips. Place the slices in the marinade, and marinate for as long as you like. The longer you marinate, the stronger the flavor will be, but I often marinate for less than a half-hour.
Shake now and then to make sure all the tempeh slices are coated.
Add some canola oil to a sauté pan, and fry the tempeh strips over medium-high heat until crisp on one side. Turn, and fry again until crisp on the other. Sprinkle a little extra tamari and maple syrup on the tempeh while it’s on the heat, essentially caramelizing the tempeh. After a little time, the tempeh will turn brown, caramelize, and get crispier/chewier. (About 5 minutes on each side is a reasonable estimate.)
Remove from the heat, set on plate with a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
Yield: 10 to 14 slices
Serving Suggestions and Variations:
*Make a Tempeh BLT, Reuben sandwich, or add to Caesar Salad.
*Use tofu in place of tempeh. Cut tofu into strips, marinate, and sauté. I suggest, however, that you use tofu that has been frozen and thawed.
*If you have extra marinade, simply prepare a second package of tempeh or tofu, or use it in a stir-fry.
Did You Know?
Liquid smoke is produced by burning hardwood chips (hickory, mesquite, etc.) and condensing the smoke into a liquid form. The liquid is then scrubbed and filtered to remove all impurities. A little goes a long way, and it’s a great flavoring for many dishes where you want a smoky flavor, such as the Split Pea Soup.