Monday, October 16, 2006

Time for Tempeh Too

We tried tempeh recently and while we all thought it was okay, we were more than a little underwhelmed. I definitely could detect an unpleasant bitter taste, so I knew I had to do a little research and try it again. I asked my SIL - who doesn't eat meat but isn't quite a vegetarian (she still eats seafood) - and she said that no matter how you cook it, you need to cook it for a minimum of 20 minutes to get rid of the bitter flavor. I completely forgot that she said she'd send me some recipes until an large envelope arrived in the mail on Friday, full of tempeh recipes. I happened to have an 8-ounce package left in the fridge, so I put it on last night's menu.

I picked a recipe that I knew would go over well - a spicy peanut sauce. What wouldn't taste good in a spicy peanut sauce? I morphed two recipes - the recipe she sent me and a recipe from Cooking Light to come up with a lightened version. Although I would have liked to have thrown in some snow peas or red pepper, all we had on hand was zucchini and instead of coming up with a separate way to prepare it, I just sauteed it and threw it in with the tempeh.

Tempeh with Spicy Peanut Sauce
(It tastes better than it looks!)
The sauce is wonderful and the tempeh just soaks it up and assumes its flavors. Cooking it in a tasty marinade helped it to absorb even more flavor and did away with any bitterness. I'm still not crazy about tempeh all by its naked self, but throw it in the right sauce and I'll eat it up.

The jury is out on whether it's worth cooking regularly with tempeh. It does provide an alternate protein source to meats, but it's expensive. Though I'd love to cook with all organic, whole or otherwise very healthy products, budget wins out at this point. For now, it will likely remain a once in a while thing.........I'm sure my family won't object if I don't serve it very often. They are tolerant and try just about anything I fix, but all the same, they'd probably rather have a burger.

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  1. oh alysha, as an indonesian who eats tempeh regularly, i don't like the quality of tempeh in the market. i usually buy tempeh from an indonesian in california who makes it from scratch and very much the same tempeh like we had in indonesia. we usually fry tempeh, or cook it with coconut milk. of course we like it very much :) but i agree that it's expensive, while back in indonesia it's a common food

  2. Eliza - I wish I could try the homemade tempeh, but I'm afraid I'm stuck with the store-bought version. :) I feel lucky to even be able to find that now - in Indiana, I had a bit of a drive to find it.

    I was thinking of trying it in a coconut curry sauce when we cook it next time.

  3. Well, if you want to try tempeh again, here's the recipe that I used to try it for the first time - No bitterness with mine - I loved it!


  4. Hi Susan.

    That recipe looks very good - thanks!

    It's not that I don't like it so much as I don't know that the benefits of cooking with it are worth the price at the moment. Some day when the finances aren't so tight, I won't worry about it. :)