To me, Tempeh has always been one of those strange foods that conjures up images of communes and vegans. Lets face it, it looks weird, like some sort of bean cheese and in the grocery store it is all the way at the top of the shelf, not at eye level where they put the regularly purchased items. But alas, for me it is a diamond food and since I am a vegetarian I feel it is an important source of protein and vitamins. I also believe that as a healthy blood type A, tempeh is good for me. I have been eating it for over a year now but it was only recently that I discovered a new way to prepare it that is in short - delicious!
I buy mine in the dairy aisle at Whole Foods. They carry several types, vegetable, flax and smokey. I always buy the flax variety because the other styles contain avoids for my genotype. Checking the dates to make sure they are the freshest, I'll usually buy three or four at a time. It comes tightly sealed in a clear plastic wrapper, and as long as it remains unopened it keeps well in the fridge for quite a while. I am not sure why they would package it like this because you can actually see the white and black mold growing on it through the plastic. I am certain the average consumer does not find this very appealing (probably why it is on the top shelf).
Over the years I have thrown away my fair share of tempeh just because I did not know how to cook it properly. For the past year I have been steaming it prior to cooking,prepared this way it was Ok, but it still had that beany taste. With enough curried peanut sauce slathered on it, I found it tolerable, so I was content. Then a few months ago I stumbled across a recipe that said to boil it for 5 minutes then marinade it for a few hours or overnight. I thought, now that makes sense, boiling will loosen the compressed cake of soybeans and allow the flavor to infuse the tempeh. I took the rectangular block and sliced it half length wise then into small bite size pieces. Boiling a pot of water, I dropped it in and set the timer for 5 minutes. Afterward I drained it and placed it in a glass container with my marinade and placed it in the fridge. Asian flavors work really well with tempeh, so I stuck to a basic recipe of tamari (wheat-free soy sauce), a little olive oil, garlic, ginger and lemon juice. Letting it stew over night it had absorbed almost all the marinade and it smelled good too.
At dinner time I just cooked it in a pan with a bit more oil. Some of the tempeh came apart but that was fine, I just scooped it up and put it over brown rice. I served it with a green romaine salad with homemade white miso dressing. I have been thinking about that meal for a week and couldn't take it any more; I just bought four more tempeh cakes at Whole Foods.
In doing a short internet search to see if this method was mentioned any place, I found that it is but I must have over looked it. I hope you try this. Leave a comment and let me know how it goes.
I added the recipe here.