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Learning to love tempeh

Back when it was MoFo (yeah, seems a good long while ago, doesn't it?) I made my first tentative steps into cooking with tempeh.

Time to strike while the iron was, if not hot, then still a little warm - time to try out some more tempeh cooking.

I have a bit of a fondess for 1,000 Vegan Recipes - not everything is perfect in it, but whenever you need an idea for that bit of something turning to mush in the back of the fridge, or for that bit of weird esoteric nonsense you picked up at the farmers' market, 1,000 Vegan Recipes has a suggestion.

Needless to say, it had a few suggestions for tempeh - the one that caught my eye was the Creole tempeh, and some Creole rice and beans to go alongside it.

I know less than sod all about Creole cooking, but anything that involves dipping tempeh in spicy flour and then cooking it up to a glossy tomato sauce has got to be good.

But would the tempeh hold up to a second bite of the cherry? There was a potent mushroomy tang running through the whole dish, which I can only assume was the tempeh (help me out tempeh addicts - is that what it normally tastes like, or was mine to far north of the Best Before date?!)

Treading a fine line between heady forest and sweaty gym T-shirt, tempeh has just about managed to earn its ongoing place on my shopping list.

So, tempeh lovers everywhere, help me out again - what shall I make with it? What recipe can turn any tempeh sceptic into a confirmed tempeh fan?

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  1. The thing I make the most by far is Tempeh bacon. Recipes in Vegan Brunch and Vegan WIth A Venegenace. I have it with scrambled tofu and potatoes for Sunday breakfast and the leftovers in a BLT for lunches. The Sweet Potato Tempeh stew in Appetite for Reudction is a winner too.

  2. Well, I eat tempeh raw so I obviously don't mind the taste but it's especially good hashed out with potatoes or Bryant Terry's jerk tempeh!

  3. I only seem to like tempeh when a) other people prepare it for me, or b) when I only consume small quantities of it at a time. I make this one rice bowl with rice, jerk sauce, sauteed tempeh chunks, raw veggies and pineapple salsa - it's hella good. But that's pretty much it. I'm tempeh-lame.

  4. Veggie Grill makes tempeh that anyone would like — it's amazing — but I don't know how they do it. If you're ever at a Veggie Grill, order the Urban Plate. I think tempeh tastes especially nice grilled on a barbecue.

  5. I've been trying to love tempeh for over a year and have had a few misses but enough wins to keep experimenting. The chesapeake tempeh cakes on PPK were great as were Vegan Dad's tempeh burgers. My favourite lasagne has minced tempeh in the sauce, frying tempeh Indonesian style was also another success. I don't seem to enjoy tempeh in large pieces so I'm always on the lookout for recipes where it is chopped finely and seasoned well. Did you steam the tempeh before cooking with it? That can help to tame the strong flavour a bit too.

  6. Do you steam your tempeh first--because that removes some of the bitterness? I think sauce helps if you don;t like the taste--but really, steaming first works wonders. If you're using it in a sauce, you don't need to steam it first.

    Try these recipes:
    Creamy Vegan Bolognese Sauce (for pasta)

    Tempeh Bulgogi (Korean-style tempeh)

    TLT Sandwich (Tempeh bacon, lettuce, tomato--really easy and good!)

  7. I will definitely be paying attention to the suggestions you receive, as I am a tempeh novice, myself. I've purchased it once before, but didn't have the best experience with it taste-wise.

  8. I like the bits broken apart and sauteed until crispy. They make a great salad topping!

  9. I love the pasta with brocolli and tempeh from Veganomicon (that's not it's real name, and I use either brocolli or kale as I can't get the veg she suggests).

  10. I go hot and cold with tempeh. It used to be my favorite of the vegan protein triumvirate - tofu, seitan, and tempeh. (But what about beans? Maybe quadrumvirate...) Then I had a bad experience involving tempeh (I'll save you the details), and I've had a hard time coming back after that. It definitely has a signature pungency about it that can be off putting. As others have mentioned, steaming helps, but ultimately, it still tastes like tempeh.

    Now my favorite ways to make it involve masking a lot of its tempeh flavors. I like the tempeh bacon from Vegan Table. (A video demo of it is available here: http://www.compassionatecook.com/media/videos/tempeh-bacon-cooking-demonstration) I also like the hot sauce glazed tempeh in Veganomicon. I also agree with Mel that the Chesapeake tempeh cakes in Vegan Brunch are quite tasty.


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