I first came across Tempeh about 10 years ago, not at a restaurant mind you but a health food store. New source of protein. Given my naivety at the time I opened the package (which in itself is a minor undertaking – like trying to unwrap a mummy) and took a huge bite.
The taste. The texture. The mouthfeel. I wasn’t having it. After that bite – I felt like Spock damning Khan.
But in the years since then, I’ve learned to understand Tempeh. – to love it even. And, I look back on that moment fondly. Not because I learned anything but because I have a bad memory and I cherish anything that doesn’t resemble amnesia. I kid, people.
The one takeaway from that ordeal – standing on 1st avenue with a bent look on my face – was this: Tempeh isn’t necessarily ready for its close up Mr Demille – like any star it has to go through make up and wardrobe first. Zing!
So I offer up something that has been invaluable to me in the proceeding years. You have to cook up your tempeh first. (Some of you are like Duhhhh) And since then I’ve toyed with ways that get it show ready.
How? I blanch it. Tempeh Jacuzzi with all the bubbles.
But I don’t just throw it in bubbly water and call it a day – I prepare it. I get it ready for the world.
Here’s a simple way to get your tempeh like click, click, bomb.
1. Boil 4 cups of water with 1 (heaps) TBS of sugar and 1 (heaps) tsp of salt.
2. Submerge the entire block of the tempeh in the boiling water for 12 minutes. DO NOT cut it up at this point. Do it after.
3. Allow to cool
The salt will give it bit of flavor while the sugar will help neutralize whatever bitter flavors may linger. And the blanching will essentially par cook the tempeh.
From there you can slice it, cube it -marinate it, sear it and toss in sauce or hell, eat it as is.