Today is the second in a series of Virtual-Friday-Lunches, started by the adorable and brilliant Cheryl at ATigerInTheKitchen. The #LetsLunch item this go round is BURGERS, so here's my spin on it ---I know...I know...what the hell is TEMPEH, right? For a long time I only thought of it as the weird bumpy package that sat beside the Tofu in the market. But, maybe you're like me; have a vivacious curiosity and a giant desire to eat healthier. And, maybe like me you just need a little more info and a few minutes to experiment. If so, then you're gonna love this little TEMPEH BURGER.
Just to be factual, and use my new found knowledge: Tempeh is a cultured cake of beans and/or grains originally from Indonesia (one of the only soyfoods not from China). It's fermented, and when cooked properly has a nutty, meat-like, earthy...I'm making myself hungry, again...hardy bite. Tempeh contains more protein than chicken or beef, and loaded with Riboflavin and Manganese (which helps our bodies utilize nutrients, keeps bones strong and provides good function to our thyroid and nerves.) You won't read that on a Happy Meal box.
It took the US until the late 1970's to really get on board with Tempeh - but that was also the time we had the most growth in our national awareness for health, world hunger, fitness and childhood nutrition.
Class dismissed, time for Kitchen Playground.
The Tempeh I bought (although many actually make their own) came in a 6x8 slab. I used a small cookie cutter to first cut thick circles out, and then cut those in half to make thinner rounds. Tempeh is a great flavor canvas, meaning that it takes on and needs your ideas for flavor. It's like tofu in that way. I MARINATED the Tempeh circle/burgers for 30 - 45 minutes in a mixture of:
1/2 cup Soy Sauce
Juice of 1 orange
2 Tbls. lemon juice
2 tsps. garlic powder
2 tsps. Garam Masala (Spice mixture: if you don't have it use a pinch of cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper and cumin)
1/4 cup Agave sweetener
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Cover and turn over a few times while marinating to make sure all pieces are flavored.
When ready to saute, pat the tempeh burgers dry on a paper towel. Then, heat a saute pan with 1 tbls. olive oil and saute for a crispy outside (about 2 minutes on each side.)
Remove burgers and place on mini-rolls with condiments of your choosing.
For my Tempeh Sliders: I used Vegan Mayonaise, roasted Yellow Beet, Roma tomato, Baby Romaine lettuces and placed them on a Green Tea/Black Sesame hand-made roll. I developed those rolls for "Fete du The" by ALGABAR.
These would make great appetizers, small plates or just cut them bigger and serve for a full burger meal.
ALSO, the scraps, from the tempeh not cut out, can be marinaded along with the burgers and also sauteed. I held them in the fridge and sprinkled them over a salad the next day. OMG, very deep, nutty and delicious topping for greens with red onions and roasted curry cauliflower. Try it, impress your friends...impress your body. Attempt Tempeh!