Sunday, January 17, 2010

Orange-Glazed Tempe

This is a big week for you, yeah? Trying new things. Eating some lentils. Considering a soy product that would have previously skeeved you out but suddenly seems delicious.

Tempe is like tofu, in that it is a kind of cake or block made from soy, and it tastes like ... well ... almost nothing. Similarly, the beauty of both tofu and tempe is that they easily take on the flavors you introduce to them. Their textures, though, are quite different; tempe is thin and dense, and though traditionally made from exclusively soy beans, can successfully be adapted with mixed grains and seeds. My grocery store sells tempe in different varieties: ones with added flax seed, barley, buckwheat, bulgur and brown rice, even vegetables.

I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that reducing the amount of meat you eat is almost never a bad idea. (If you DO need me to tell you, just say the word and I will simultaneously bore, offend, infuriate, and worry you with statistics both medical and ecological.) I have to be honest and say that I am a tempe novice, but so far I've liked the results. I must also be honest and say that this recipe was lifted (though adapted to fit my cabinet contents) from 101 Cookbooks, so think about going there--or many, many other places--for more tempe knowledge. In the meantime, this is a pretty quick weeknight fix.
You can serve it with rice or another grain, but since it's kind of made of grains, you could also go with a bed of wilted cabbage, tossed in an easy dressing. I'll include that here too.

Orange-Glazed Tempe
serves 2, but leftovers are great

1 package tempe
2 Tbsp oil
1 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp honey
1 tsp dry ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
dash hot sauce of your choice

1/2 head green or red cabbage
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp honey
  1. Start by cutting the tempe into bite-size pieces. As you can see, we went with triangles. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add tempe. Saute until nice and brown, about 4 minutes, then flip. Cook another 3-4 minutes.
  2. Mix together remaining sauce ingredients (soy sauce through hot sauce) in a small bowl. Add to pan with tempe and reduce heat to medium. Boil until sauce is reduced and thick, 6-8 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, slice cabbage thin and steam however you see fit: either in a pot on the stove with a little bit of water, or in a bowl with a little bit of water, covered in plastic, and microwaved for several minutes. Mix together vinegar, oil, soy, and honey, and toss. Serve warm.

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