I am afraid tempeh looks as uninspiring as it sounds.
But if you do go past its appearance and unromantic name, you are in for a real treat. Tempeh is made from cooked and slightly fermented soybeans and compressed into patties; it is then diced and used in stir-fries, soups, and stews. Because of its low-fat and high-protein content, it is an ideal choice in vegetarian diets. Tempeh can be found in the refrigerated section of most health food stores and in the natural foods aisle of well-stocked grocery stores. In the finished dish, tempeh will have soaked up all the good cooking juices and lost its objectionable drab color and spongy texture.
So, have I used my modest powers of persuasion enough for you to try tempeh?
I hope I have. It’s delicious! A Perfect Vegetarian Main course. You might want to consider throwing everything in a Crock-Pot and set on a low temperature in the morning for that night’s dinner, or at night for the following day’s lunch.
- 2 12-ounce cans beer
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 large red onion, sliced very thin
- 6 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound shiitake mushrooms, caps only
- ½ pound any other wild mushrooms you can afford, cubed
- ¼ cup hijiki (or other seaweed: wakame, arame, etc.)
- 2–3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 sprigs tarragon
- 1 bunch chives, sliced thin
- 2 pounds tempeh, cut in inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- Ground pepper to taste
- ½ cup dark miso paste
In a wide-bottom pot, bring all but two last ingredients to a boil. Reduce to medium and cook covered for 1 hour. Gently stir in the ground pepper and miso, until the miso breaks up and is evenly incorporated. Serve hot with brown rice or any other grain.
Makes 8 servings