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Cornmeal-Crusted Tempeh

January 16, 2011

When people think vegan, they think tofu. The more adventurous think seitan. Only the more experienced think tempeh. To be honest, when I first tried this Indonesian import, I was turned off by the taste (mostly bland) and texture (more grainy than I would have liked) but then I discovered if you marinate the tempeh it transforms into this wonderfully delicious — and healthy — vegan protein. Alas, a good tempeh recipe is hard to find.

This recipe is based on the one served at Candle Cafe. I just purchased their WONDERFUL cookbook after years of peeking at it whenever I visited the restaurant — so expect many adaptations of their recipes in the coming months.

Cornmeal-Crusted Tempeh

2 8-ounce packages tempeh cut into thirds (I had a bit of difficulty finding tempeh in my regular grocery store, but Whole Foods always has it in stock as does Trader Joe’s — I’m actually partial to the Trader Joe’s brand tempeh)
1/2 cup shoyu
1/2 cup water
3 tbs agave nectar
3 garlic cloves minced
1 inch slice ginger minced
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
olive oil for frying

Preheat the oven to 350°. To make the marinade, in a small bowl whisk together the shoyu, water, agave, garlic, and ginger.

Place the tempeh slices in a baking dish so that they are all lying flat. Pour the marinade over the tempeh and let sit for 2 minutes and turn over.

Once both sides marinate for 2 minutes, cover with tinfoil and bake for 1 hour. After an hour uncover tempeh and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, mix together the cornmeal coating — cornmeal, red pepper flakes, oregano, cumin, and salt — in a small bowl. Once the tempeh is a bit cooler, cut each piece on the diagonal to create two triangles.

When you are ready to start coating, heat up some oil in a large non stick pan. Dip the tempeh into the coating — I started out using tongs, but gave up on that halfway — and fry for around 3 minutes (or until browned — though this can be difficult to see) on each side.

Remove from pan and serve immediately. I combined it with some sweet potatoes, kale, and beans to make for a great winter lunch.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Arielle permalink
    January 16, 2011 8:41 pm

    this looks amazing! tempeh is my favorite

    • January 16, 2011 8:50 pm

      I’m back in DC tomorrow so hopefully we can find a way to make some soon!

  2. January 7, 2012 8:06 pm

    Check out our website for our easy method for making tempeh. http://www.makethebesttempeh.org
    We produced Betsy’s Tempeh in Mich for 9 1/2 years and developed a new process that our customers loved. We are now in the final stages of making yet a simpler method so if you are interested please keep in touch.
    Betsy Shipley the tempeh pioneer

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