Oh, tempeh. If you have never experienced with this meaty, soy tastiness, don't worry. I totally understand. If there's anything stranger and more hippy than tofu, it's tempeh. I've only used it once before and it was in Spicy Tempeh Sushi Rolls. It was definitely an experience.
Tempeh, or tempe in Indonesian, is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form. Tempeh is unique among major traditional soyfoods in that it is the only one that did not originate in China or Japan. It originated in today's Indonesia, and especially popular on the island of Java, where it is a staple source of protein. Like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans, but tempeh is a whole soybean product with different nutritional characteristics and textural qualities. Tempeh's fermentation process and its retention of the whole bean give it a higher content of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamins compared to tofu, as well as firmer texture and stronger flavor. Because of its nutritional value, tempeh is used worldwide in vegetarian cuisine; some consider it to be a meat analogue.
We had the sister-in-law over for dinner last night as her husband is off saving the world. I didn't really want to spend money on groceries, so I searched the fridge and pantry for possible meals. I had purchased some tempeh a few weeks ago, thinking I might make sushi again. I also had some carrots and a box of couscous (yum!) so I searched online for a tempeh recipe. I decided on a maple recipe since I had all the ingredients and it would work really well with the carrots. Without further adieu...
Maple Glazed Tempeh
Prep time: 15 minutes, plus marinading time
Cook time: 15 minutes
8 ounces tempeh
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed and chopped
1/2 teaspoon powdered chipotle (or a couple pinches of cayenne)
1. In a saucepan over high heat, steam the tempeh for 10 minutes. Cool. While steaming, combine all the ingredients in a shallow dish or pan.
2. Slice the tempeh into 4 triangles, then slice in half width-wise, making 8 thin triangles. Soak in the marinade for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
3. In a large pan over medium heat, spray with nonstick spray. Add each piece of tempeh carefully, making sure not to tear. Cook on one side for 7 minutes, adding marinade on top as you go. When you flip it, flip carefully. The color should be a deep maple color...if it starts to get a little black, that's ok! It adds flavor!
4. When both sides are cooked, serve!
I'm not going to lie, it was delicious! It had a chewy texture and completely took on the flavor of the marinade. My bet is that this would be good over rice, a salad, grilled...it's so versatile! If you're afraid of tempeh, get over it! Give it a whirl!