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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Orange Pan-glazed Tempeh

Call me crazy but I love searching through cookbooks and food blogs to find a recipe that smartly uses up that lonely ingredient sitting in the back of our fridge - this week the last man standing was a package of tempeh.

What is tempeh?

Tempeh - from Wikipedia:
Tempeh, or tempe in Javanese, is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form. It is 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. Tofu, by contrast, is said to be more versatile in dishes. Because of its nutritional value, tempeh is used worldwide in vegetarian cuisine; some consider it to be a meat analogue. Even long before Westerners found and realized its rich nutritional value, tempeh was referred to as “Javanese meat.”

Orange Pan-glazed Tempeh:
*From 101 Cookbooks, originally from Jude Belerau's book Coming Home to Eat: Wholefood for the Family. On 101 Cookbooks, Heidi cooks it up then tosses the tempeh with leftover wheat berries and kale - which makes sense as she adapted the recipe in January but because it is Spring I wanted to lighten it up and opted for a simple side salad & roasted asparagus.

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (3-4 large juicy oranges)
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons tamari (or soy sauce) *I used soy
1 1/2 tablespoons mirin *I used brown rice vinegar
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 small garlic cloves, crushed
roughly 10 ounces of tempeh (or extra-firm tofu)
*I'm not into overdoing it on Soy. Tempeh comes in many versions and I used the Wild Rice version here...yumm.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lime
a handful of cilantro (coriander) leaves

1 bunch asparagus spears
olive oil
salt & pepper

Mix the orange juice through garlic in a bowl - set aside.

If you want to serve with roasted asparagus (you should!) wash and trim the spears - preheat the oven to 400 and toss the spears with a couple of glugs of olive oil, salt & pepper. Throw in the oven for 15 minutes.

Cut up the tempeh into whatever shape you like (I am partial to the traingles) and heat the 2 tbls of olive oil on med/high. Cook tempeh on each side for 5+/- minutes, or until browned.

Once browned, pour in sauce and simmer (may have to turn down the heat) for 10 minutes-while it bubbles spoon the sauce over the little nuggets so everything gets covered. The sugars in the orange juice & maple syrup will get thick and shinney!

Transfer the tempeh to a serving platter and spoon over extra sauce. Serve with roasted asparagus and simple mixed green salad.

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