Recipe: fried tempeh tacos! »
I love fried food! I try not to eat it very often, because it can be quite decadent and I don’t know how to stop myself, but man-oh-man it’s fun! I get jealous of my friends’ fish tacos when we go out for Mexican food. Not the fish part obviously, it’s the fact they get to eat tacos with deep-fried protein and I don’t! This always seems to happen at the joints with a less-than-par vegetarian menu, so I’m left crying over my margarita. I’m just kidding, I never cry when margaritas are involved!
I got the idea to make my own “fish” tacos after one of these debacles. You can use any protein you like, but I like the tenderness of steamed tempeh in this recipe. There’s also no “fish” taste, but please, we’re just getting too technical. They’re delicious! Now pass the margaritas!
1 8oz package of tempeh
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 Tbs chili powder
3/4 Tbs cumin
1/2 Tbs salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup + 1 Tbs rice flour
3/4 cup water
Chop your tempeh in to strips, widthwise. I usually get about 12 even strips. I always steam my tempeh first. It’s not a necessary step, but I like the tenderness it gives the tempeh. As that’s steaming, I toast all of my spices, from the chili powder to black pepper. I then pour them into a small mixing bowl with the corn starch. Mix the spices and the cornstarch together well! In another bowl, whisk the water and rice flour. This mixture will be watery, don’t worry about it!
Heat up oil in a medium to large sauce pan. I usually put in enough oil to fill 1/4 of the pan. You will know your oil is hot enough to start frying when, if you splatter the tiniest bit of water in the pan, it sizzles. Once my oil is hot enough, I like to keep the heat right in between medium and medium high. Too hot and your food will burn, too low and your food will be overly greasy.
Take your steamed tempeh strips, and one at a time, first dip them in the cornstarch and spice mixture, being sure to cover all sides. Then dip your cornstarched strip in the flour-water mixture. Quickly set your tempeh strip in your pan to start frying! Each side takes only about two minutes. The batter doesn’t necessarily brown, but it hardens up, so that helps to tell when it’s done. Put only about four strips into the pan at once because you’ll need room to flip them over.
As the tempeh strips are done frying, take them out of the pan and set onto a plate covered with a couple paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
That’s everything! It was hard to save any tempeh strips to actually make tacos out of! I topped mine with a homemade guacamole, only to realize afterwards that I should have also picked up some cabbage at the store. Next time! The fish tacos at California Pizza Kitchen come with zesty ranch, and I think that flavor combination sounds delicious. I just so happen to have a vegan ranch recipe in my repertoire for you!
Sliced tempeh, about to be steamed.
Toasting my spices! It only takes about two minutes in a dry pan on medium heat.
Tempeh covered in the cornstarch and spices mixture.
Fry tempeh, fry!
My recipe just so happens to be gluten-free, but you can easily make a gluten-full batter with 1/2 cup flour to 1/2 cup water.
EVERYONE: try Alive & Healing’s amazing new tempeh! »
You know how when you first go vegan you’re totally not into tempeh? It’s like, “WHAT’S THAT SMELL YO?” But then you start being all, “mmm what’s that smell YO BREAK ME OFF A PIECE OF THAT!” Something like that. That was my journey to tempeh lover, I’m obsessed with it now but it took me a good five years as a vegan to be into it and now I’m like, “WTF IS WRONG WITH ME?” I realize it’s that I was brainwashed by my SAD to not think that fresh food tastes delicious and I was an idiot listening to my creepy old brain! Be smart, eat tempeh. I think maybe I also just had some shitty tempeh in my life, like stuff that wasn’t steamed or had been sitting alone in the bulk bins too long, you know? Or a well-meaning friend made me a plain slab of tempeh as an alternative to their meaty entrees. So many mistakes were made.
At its best, tempeh is nutty, meaty, and hella tasty — and Alive & Healing, a new company out of Northern California, knows it. THEIR TEMPEH IS AMAZING. So good, not at all funky tunky (you know what I’m talking about with that tempeh smell!), and just absolutely scrumptious. SCRUMPTIOUS!
I made quite a few things with the insane amounts I purchased, including the tasty sandwich below and MY FAVORITE TEMPEH RECIPE OF ALL TIME, DEBBIE’S TEMPEH. It’s available exclusively in Lisa Jervis’ Cook Food cookbook, which I find to be a kitchen imperative. I adapted the recipe and my version is tasty but not nearly as stellar as the one in the book. If you’re looking for a good cooking basics book that has staple recipes to use and remix for years, Cook Food has your back. Anyway, here’s the pics of some of the yummy things I eat it is great to be me:
I also made a lentil soup with tempeh crumbles, a slow cooker Shepherd’s Pie, and I don’t remember what else — mainly just hella delicious stuff. Alive & Healing is available at lots of S.F. Bay Area stores (and expanding!), you can have it shipped to you (er, or wait, this might only be available in the S.F. Bay Area? I can’t tell for sure!) if you’re outside of the SF Bay Area or you’re very lazy, and they have a Tempeh Club! Which, as soon as I figure out what it is, I’m joining. I think it’s just bulk tempeh delivered to your mouth I’LL TAKE IT. If you’re ready to become a tempeh lover, today is the day, this high-protein tastiness is meant for you and so GIVE IN to tempeh and finally let two become one EW SORRY.
(I’m also counting this as my International Vegan MoFo for the day because tempeh is hella Indonesian THE MORE YOU KNOW. )
I have always, always been afraid of eating RAW kale. I know kale is great for you, and it taste alright steamed or sauteed, but the bitter, harsh taste of raw kale honestly just frightens me. I decided to do some research and look up different ways of preparing raw kale, and the one that seemed like the best option was “massaged” kale salad. So I massaged some, kale, marinated some tempeh, and made my favorite salad dressing, and I am happy to say that the massaged kale was more than edible…it was delicious!
Congratulations, Mina! She was good enough to put a recipe for the salad on Eat Run Love, so you can totally copy her and learn to love raw kale, just like the rest of us. It’s so good!
BBQ Tempeh Sandwiches with Homemade Coleslaw* from Perennial G’DAMN! This is my dream real, right here. Well, add in some tater tots. And French fries. Maybe some mashed potatoes, too. OK, OK, and a couple baked potatoes.
*And just in case anyone can’t figure it out, just sub Wildwood Garlic Aioli for the mayo, EASY PEASY.
How to, yo: Steam tempeh! »
I like tempeh all right. The first time I ever had it, my friend Krystle made TLTs—tempeh, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches with Veganaise. I wasn’t vegan yet, but after eating her sandwich, I decided it was time to seriously try. I have often told Krystle her TLT was what finally made it me go vegan. It was a gateway sandwich!
When I have tackled the TLT on my own, I noticed that the tempeh soaks up so much of the oil and soy sauce I sauté it in to make bacon. I decided one night, last year, to try steaming my tempeh first. I had skimmed many a recipe that suggested steaming, and it was time to try it.
Turns out it’s easy to do. Seriously, once I started steaming my tempeh first, I began enjoying it so much more. I’ve heard steaming takes some of the bitterness out, but I’ve never noticed a bitter bite to begin with. Plus, when steamed, it soaks up less oil when preparing it afterward.
Yes, steaming does add one extra step, but I’m doing it as I write this post! You can steam anything (vegetables, fermented soy), and do other stuff at the same time! Multitasking!
A steam basket
A pot with a lid
Cut up your tempeh into sizes that are desirable for you. Place your steam basket into your pot, and fill pot with water just until it reaches the bottom of the steam basket. Bring water to a boil, place tempeh in steam basket.
To boil the water, I set the stove burner to high, but once the tempeh is in the pot, with the lid on, I turn down the temperature to medium high/medium. Then I let it do its thing for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Lift the cover; your tempeh should be tender and ready for however you like to prepare it!
Once you’ve steam your tempeh, you can then sautee it or bake it—whatever you usually do. I still like to make myself TLTs, with homemade mayo, of course! I am steaming tempeh today, because I am getting ready to write a battered tempeh taco recipe for you! With a gluten-free version included, of course.
My desire to play around with tempeh was brought on by a recent dinner at Millennium with my roommate, Crystal. We decided to share the Maple-Black Pepper Smoked Tempeh, as neither of us has been the biggest fans of tempeh. We were like, “If we are ever going to have tempeh at its most delectable, it’s going to be here.” We were not mistaken.
Vegan summer Shop-Up NYC! »
After their wildly successful Spring Shop-Up in April, the awesome folks over at Vegan Shop Up are kicking off the summer season with yet another goodie-laden event!
That’s right, you ravenous vegans! The big event is happening this Sunday, June 19—Father’s Day!—at our mega-favorite vegan watering hole, Pine Box Rock Shop, from 1 to 5 p.m. Featuring everything from hummus to skin care, raw ice cream to kombucha, tempeh to truffles, there will definitely be a little something for everyone. Vendors include Green Pirate fruit and veggie juices, Sprout skin care, Gone Pie baked goods and Pretty Monsters soy candles and balms. Empty Cages Collective will be there reppin’ our animal friends, too! So come on out, enjoy a delicious vegan bloody mary and waffle brunch with Dad, and spend some cold hard cash in support of vegan businesses! OR ELSE!
Veganized for your pleasure: brown sugar bacon buttermilk waffles »
Why yes, that is rice whip on my waffle. I do not mess around.
I really don’t understand this longstanding bacon obsession in America. And when it got to the point where it was showing up on magazine covers, in chocolate bars, in squeezable formats, and with full-on "trend" status (If one more person tries to get me to eat bacon by saying, “but bacon doesn’t count,” I will have a conniption), I was confused and, yes, hurt. But just because we don’t want gristly bits of dead pig on top of our cupcakes doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the flavorful combination of sweet and smoky, the textural dissonance between chewy and fluffy. Peep this recipe, gag, and then make this bitchin’ and infinitely more animal-friendly version:
Fakin’ Bacon and Buttermilk Waffles
makes four Belgian waffles
One package or recipe of tempeh “bacon” (I used Tofurky’s)
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
6 Tbsp. hot water
2 cups soy milk (or whatever other vegan milk you use)
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat your oven to 375 F. Spray a cookie sheet with some nonstick. Arrange the pretend bacon in a single layer on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top of the strips as evenly as you can. I won’t judge you for licking your fingers. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the sugar has become pretty liquidy. Let it cool, and then chop the sticky strips into little pieces—or break it apart with your hands if you’re nasty (related: I’m nasty).
In a bowl, whisk together the flax seed and hot water till it’s as frothy as your little hands can make it. In another bowl, stir together the milk and vinegar. Watch as it gets all curdled and weird-looking. Okay, focus! Now in a big bowl, sift together your dry ingredients (flour down to salt in the list above). Marvel once more at the crazy milk transformation, and whisk in the flax seed mixture, oil, and vanilla. Pour it all into the dry ingredients, and mix till it’s mostly combined. Then stir in the pretend bacon bits.
Follow your waffle iron’s directions to make as many waffles as possible. Cover it in Earth Balance, maple syrup, jam—whatever you put on waffles. Serve with orange juice, and pretend you’re being healthy. Eat, and slap yo’ mama.
This ain’t no ordinary waffle. As you can see, there’s chewy, savory tempeh bacon in there!
New awesome product: Dragon Lines Tempeh! »
Philip Gelb & Co. have released a line of artisan tempeh and it’s the best damn tempeh I’ve ever eaten. You don’t even have to steam this stuff before you cook it, it’s already tender and delicious. OH DON’T BELIEVE ME? Well, would you believe MILLENNIUM?* That’s right, Millennium has started serving Dragon Lines Tempeh because it’s so g-d good.
If you want some now, you have to order directly from them. It’s easy, just email and ask how you can get a bunch delivered to your face. You really should because this stuff is truly the best tempeh a person can eat in the entire world and you’re not better than Millennium, okay?
That’s all I got right now. I’m not feeling very writerly today. Or swearly even. I don’t know, maybe I’m dying.
*Also, screw you, I’m hella trustworthy in matters of food.
Recipe: Tempting Tempeh! I know, the name is amazing. Came up with it myself! Believe it! »
This recipe is actually almost a direct rip-off of one from Lisa Jervis’ STELLAR cookbook, Cook Food (BUY IT). This recipe goes out to everyone who thinks they don’t like tempeh (I too was non-believer at one point! Now I’m straight speaking in tongues on tempeh’s ass!) and for those Vegansaurus editors who are going back to school at Oberlin and need something to cook up for their vegan co-op kitchens. You can eat this right before you have group sex in a hot tub. Bring your banjo and some Rilke and IT’S A PARTY!
AND SO WE BEGIN.
• 2 8-oz. bags of tempeh
• 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
• 1/3 cup soy sauce (if you can do this half and half with a vegan Worcestershire sauce, all the better! If you’re feeling the co-op love, throw in a spray or two of Braggs animo acids)
• 2 Tbs. onion powder
• 2 Tbs. garlic powder
• throw in some herbs if you’re feeling fancy
• couple dashes of paprika if you got it
• peanut oil to fry in (sesame oil and olive oil work well too!)
Cut the tempeh into bite-sized pieces and then steam it for about 20 minutes. While it’s steaming, combine all the other ingredients except for the oil. Then take the tempeh out and coat it in your mixture; it should cake on. Fry that shit up in your oil of choice until it’s nice and crispy on all sides. Serve over whatever, probably brown rice if you’re in a co-op. HIPPIES, AM I RIGHT??
Photo from adaenn!