Contributing Monkie V Ol Blak
Published on November 24, 2011
Photographer V Blak
The title should give you a clue to what I am about to rant about and if it doesn’t maybe the I HATE TEMPEH Tattoo on my arm will. I really do hate Tempeh. I mean, I don’t have a hate thing going just because it is Tempeh, I am not like that. I hate it because every time I order Tempeh at a restaurant (like Real Food Daily in Santa Monica) it just taste like cardboard. I am not joking, a fedex box would be better. The waiter serving it even says to me, and who ordered the cardboard. Okay he didn’t say that, but he really should have. People ordering this stuff must really be into the possible health benefits, because come on, really who could like the taste of this stuff. Reminds me of those diet dried rice cakes, I remember people sucking down in the 80’s to lose weight. Dull boring cardboard cakes, MMMMM not!
So, the other day, I am hanging out with Aria and I think she asked me if I liked Tempeh (I guess she didn’t see my tat) and of course that set me off on a rant like the one above. No, I do not like Tempeh, I do not like Tempeh in a salad, I do not like Tempeh on a sandwich, I do not like Tempeh Loafs, I do not like Tempeh while sitting with a goat, or while wearing a coat, I just do not like Tempeh. Well, Aria didn’t like that at all. She gave me a look that could kill a child. Her face turned red and she said, you just don’t know what your talking about. Tempeh is a wonderful food. It’s a whole food don’t you know. It has amazing health benefits (oh here we go) for sickly looking Vegans (hint hint), such as natural cultures to help digestion, protein to pump up those muscles and vitamins like B, calcium, and even essential fatty acids. Yeah yeah yeah, as I roll my eyes, but it taste like cardboard, I said. And I am sure Cardboard has great fiber, but I am not about to sit down and suck down an amazon.com box anytime soon. This just got her fuming… (i am joking, she is actually very calm and when she hit me with the Tempeh package, it didn’t really hurt). Then she said, okay we are going to have a challenge, which I can’t remember exactly what it was, but basically she would make Tempeh I would actually find it impossible to not say, WOW, this is good. Hmmm not likely was my response. She wasn’t phased, she just started cooking and I eased my way out of the kitchen to eat some of my cashew spicy cheesy kale chips.. mmmm. Now those are good… just saying!
What did she make? Hmmm I will give you a hint, I named the recipe in the title. She made a Sweet and yet Spicy Baked Tempeh which was not only good, it was really really good and yes I couldn’t resist… I said Wow, but not in front of her of course. There wasn’t a single hint of the dreaded cardboardishness of all the other Tempeh’s on the planet. What made this tempeh different, then lets say Real Food Daily’s tempeh, it was all in the sauce. When those words came out of my mouth, Aria just rolled her eyes and said, of course it’s the sauce, you thick Monkie. Tempeh doesn’t have a flavor of it’s own. You have to marinate it, to allow it to soak up all the yummy spices. But my point was that it’s the sauce oozing over the tempeh, giving it a nice moist feeling, like a nice BBQ rib or something, which made it so…yummy. No, I don’t eat ribs or any animal anything, but I have in my lifetime so I know what I am talking about. She did the impossible, she made cardboard taste good, hmmmm, maybe she can tackle the rest of Real Food Daily’s menu next. I will keep you posted.
Yes, Aria won again and so can you. Just say no to Cardboard and try this recipe!
Tempeh is a high protein soybean cake that has a meaty texture and absorbs flavors like a sponge. It is also considered the best way to consume soy products because it is the least processed of the soy foods making it one of the most digestible forms.
Recipe by GreenChef Aria Alpert
For the Tempeh
1 pound plain tempeh (two 8 ounce packages)
2 cup apple juice
1/2 cup tamari
4 TB brown rice vinegar
4 TB olive oil
2 tsp hot toasted sesame oil
2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 TB agave
4 TB mirin
4 garlic cloves, pressed
(Garnish) 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1. Slice tempeh into desired shape.
2. Whisk apple juice, tamari, vinegar, agave, oils, mirin, red pepper flakes and garlic in bowl.
3. Pour over tempeh in shallow baking dish in singe layer and marinate at least a few hours, over night is best.
4. Preheat oven 350.
5. Sprinkle chopped cilantro on top of Tempeh and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until most of the marinate has been absorbed and tempeh is golden.
V Blak Notes
Aria’s recipe was the first Tempeh I actually liked and for me it was all about the sauce. Keep this in mind and save all the extra sauce to use on the dish after you serve it. Also, the Tempeh will in my opinion soaks up all the sauce and is not as good the next day. So again, pull out the extra sauce you saved, heat it up and pour it on the tempeh. This will make everyone happy. The recipe above makes double the sauce you will need to cover the Tempeh for baking. Giving you plenty to smoother it in sauce later. MMMMMM