Monday, July 16, 2007

Cornmeal-Crusted Tempeh

This recipe is so tasty. It is from the Candle Cafe Cookbook by Joy Pierson and Bart Potenza. The Candle Cafe (and its sister restaurant Candle 79) are highly rated vegan restaurants in New York City. The authors of the cookbook are the co-owners. I was very happy to find the book at a local bookseller. This is the first recipe I have tried from it, and if it is any indication of the other recipes, I am looking forward to trying more.

The recipe is for a double batch, using two packages of tempeh. But, I halved the recipe in making the plate above. And I cut the tempeh in smaller pieces than the recipe suggested, but it still worked fine. I give the recipe in the amounts stated in the book.

Cornmeal-Crusted Tempeh

For marinating the tempeh:
2 8-ounce packages tempeh, each cut into thirds
1/2 cup shoyu or tamari soy sauce
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 slices fresh ginger

For the cornmeal coating mixture:
1/2 cup medium-to fine-ground cornmeal
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch of sea salt

For frying:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a small bowl, whisk the marinating ingredients. Coat tempeh with the marinade and place in a baking dish. Pour any remaining marinade over tempeh. Cover and bake for about 1 hour. Remove from oven and set aside. Drain and cut the tempeh into halves or triangles or slices.
3. In a large shallow bowl, mix together the cornmeal coating ingredients. Dip the tempeh pieces to coat with the cornmeal mixture.
4. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat and until very hot. Cook the coated tempeh until golden, about one minute per side.
5. Remove from heat and serve at once.
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8 comments:

Janet Szabo said...

Hi Kathleen--I found your blog courtesy of your sis-in-law Lynn and it's fabulous! We had vegetarian friends over for dinner last night so I made the tempeh recipe. It got rave reviews. Even my husband, who usually turns his nose up at my "rabbit food" thought they were good. And I had some for breakfast this morning. Yum.

Kathleen said...

Welcome Janet! I'm so happy the recipe was a success! You made by day by sharing how my blog helped you orchestrate a meal that pleased your family and vegetarian guests!

Anonymous said...

Hi-
My oven is no longer among the living. It's going to remain that way indefinitely. Do you think that this recipe would work well if the tempeh was fried very slowly at a lower temperature instead of baking them first? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, forgot to leave a name.

Thanks again,
patrice

Kathleen said...

Hello Patrice! Absolutely, the recipe can be adapted. What I would do is combine the marinade ingredients in a large skillet that is wide enough for all pieces of tempeh to fit without overlapping. Bring marinade to a simmer. Then lay the tempeh in the marindate and let them simmer in the marinade for up to an hour. If the tempeh pieces keep floating to the surface, I would weigh them down by placing a dinner plate or saucepan lid on top of them to keep them submerged in the liquid. Simmer at lowest setting. After a half hour of simmering, it wouldn't hurt to turn over the tempeh, to ensure even absorbtion of the marinade. Tempeh absorbs a lot of liquid, so watch to ensure there is enough liquid as it is simmering. You may need to add more hot water and more shoyu as needed.

Kathleen said...

Hi again Patrice! On second thought, I should mention to be careful not too add too much more shoyu or the sodium content could become too high. I would probably add at least a cup more water to the marinade at the start. Also, you may find that the tempeh has been well marinated within a half hour and doesn't need to marinate a whole hour. The tempeh will change color, turning more brown.

Good luck! Thanks for the question. I wish I had marinated on the stove top instead of in my oven when I made it, as it has been so incredibly hot here in FL lately!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your great answers. I'm looking forward to trying the stove top method. If it's simmering up to an hour, with the addition of more liquid at about the half hour mark, in a full hour will most of the liquid have dissapeared which would allow for the tempeh to get golden without having all the liquid in the pan? Or is the first hour used to get the marinade to soak in so that the second step of coating the tempeh and putting it back into the pan is still necessary? The cornmeal and other coating ingredients are integral parts of the recipe for flavor and texture, so it seems resonable (duh) that the second step is a good one. Guess I'm just curious what would happen to the tempeh if it remained in the cooked down liquid - would the liquid act as a glaze maybe?
I don't miss the heat of the stove in the summer, but I miss the occasional summer loaf of bread or being able to broil now and again. Eh, the toaster oven and microwave are still keeping us in hot food.
Thanks for your great replies.
This is a really long post, I'm sorry. My email is ipatrice at sbcglobal dot net if you'd prefer.
Again, thanks.
patrice

Kathleen said...

Great question! Hopefully this clarifies. Actually, I would add the additional liquid at the beginning, not at the half hour mark. The extra liquid will help prevent it from sticking and burning. The marinating process is just to give the tempeh some extra flavor and to get it cooked. It doesn't actually take an hour to cook the tempeh. Twenty minutes simmering would be enough to cook it and probably a half hour would be enough for it to really absorb the flavors of the marinade. It will turn colors when it has absorbed the marinade, but it is not supposed to become crispy during the marinading step. The liquid is not supposed to be all absorbed during marinating. You will drain off any remaining marinade before proceeding to step two.

It is during step two that it will turn crispy, after you coat it with the corn meal mixture and fry it. So, yes, you are right, the second is step is for adding the crispy texture and extra flavors of the cormeal.