If there’s one thing that I really dislike about vegetarian culture and perceptions of vegetarian food, it’s that all of the emphasis is placed on tofu when it comes to plant proteins. I definitely enjoy tofu when it’s prepared well, but it takes a bit of work. I hate to think that most omnivores completely skip over vegetarian proteins because the only thing they’re familiar with is the bland, white cubes of ‘fu available at the salad bar.
Tempeh, on the other hand, is delicious on it’s own, without the hassle of pressing/marinating/trying to imbue it with any bit of flavor possible. Plus, it’s made from whole soy, so it’s high in protein and fiber and all of those lovely things.
Generally I just slice it into strips, crisp it up in a pan, add a bit of salt, and throw it on top of whatever vegetables I might be eating. The other day, though, I wanted to use it in a dinner for my family, so I thought I’d go for a recipe that I’ve been meaning to try for months now: Heidi’s Orange Pan-Glazed Tempeh.
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (3-4 large juicy oranges)
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons tamari (or soy sauce)
1 1/2 tablespoons mirin
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 small garlic cloves, crushed
roughly 10 ounces of tempeh (or extra-firm tofu)
2 tablespoons olive oil
a handful of cilantro (coriander) leaves
Put the orange juice in a small bowl. Squeeze the grated ginger over the bowl to extract the juices, then discard the pulp. Add the tamari, mirin, and maple syrup, ground coriander, and garlic. Mix together and set aside.
Cut the tempeh (or tofu) into thin-ish, bite-sized pieces, and if working with tofu, pat dry with a paper towel.
Put the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the tempeh and fry for 5 minutes, or until golden underneath. Turn and cook the other side for another 5 minutes, or until golden. Pour the orange juice mixture into the pan and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced to a lovely thick glaze. Turn the tempeh once more during this time and spoon the sauce over the tofu from time to time.
The only change I made was to sub out maple syrup for agave
Sadly, I realized that I only had half a block of tempeh left, so I had to supplement it with tofu. It was still delicious, but the tofu didn’t compare in this preparation.
I pressed the tofu for about 30 minutes before cooking it to improve the texture. I also accidentally pressed it with an embroidered towel, so there were a few pieces that got indented with flowers:
I served the dish with brown rice + shaved brussel sprouts, which ended up being a bit bitter. Kale would have been much better, but the tempeh and tofu made up for the mediocre side.