Friday, October 7, 2011

Chesapeake Bay Tempeh Cakes

These tempeh cakes are just amazing!  If you’re new to cooking with tempeh, this is a great recipe to try.  As a bonus, it teaches you how to steam the tempeh to remove any bitterness.  These are some seriously tasy little cakes with a crispy pan-fried panko exterior that is truly reminiscent of the original.  I definitely recommend using the optional nori sheet for added fishiness.  I’ve served them for omnivores several times with amazing results too.  I served mine with smoky collards, quinoa, and plenty of hot sauce.

You can find the original recipe by Isa Chandra Mowskowitz here.  Oh, and as Isa recommends, you can make the entire mixture and the remoulade the day before so all you’ll need to do is fry ‘em up. 

Chesapeake Bay Tempeh Cakes
For the cakes:
8 ounces tempeh
1 cup water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons Vegenaise
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard (stone ground Dijon works, too)
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup very finely chopped red bell pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs, plus extra for dredging
Optional:  1 finely chopped nori sheet or 1 tablespoon kelp granules (if you like a little fishiness)
Oil for pan frying

For the remoulade:
2 tablespoons Vegenaise
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard (stone ground Dijon works, too)
1 tablespoon hot sauce
2 teaspoons capers
Lemon wedges for serving

First we’re going to steam the tempeh to get the bitterness out and also to infuse some flavor with the soy sauce.  Crumble the tempeh into a saucier or small pan in little bits.  Add the water, soy sauce, oil, and bay leaf.  The tempeh won’t be fully submerged, but that’s fine.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, let boil for 12 to 15 minutes, until most of the water has evaporated.  Stir once during boiling.

Transfer contents to a mixing bowl, remove bay leaf, and mash with a fork.  Let cool for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to hasten the cooling process.  Make sure the tempeh is barely warm before you proceed, or the cakes may fall apart when you cook them.  Add the mayo, mustard, hot sauce, vinegar, chopped bell pepper, spices, salt and pepper, and mix well.  Add the bread crumbs and nori and use your hands to incorporate.

Once you are ready to form the cakes, preheat a thin layer of oil in a heavy bottomed non-stick skillet (cast iron is great) over medium heat.  Pour a few tablespoons of panko into a bowl.  Scoop a little less than 1/4 cup batter into your hands and form into a ball.  Flatten between your palms and then roll the sides gently with your hands cupped to smooth them.  You should have ten 2 1/2 to 3 inch patties.  I do them in batches of five.  Press them into the panko to lightly coat.  They don’t need to be thoroughly covered, just a little bit for some texture.

Fry a batch of five cakes for 4 minutes on one side and flip when dark golden brown.  Fry for 2 minutes on the other side and transfer to a paper towel or paper bag to drain.  Do your second batch and in the meantime make your remoulade by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl.

Serve with lemon wedges.

1 comment:

  1. I still haven't tried this recipe - I need to get on that!