Monday, 13 April 2009

Tempeh Tantrums

As a long term vegetarian (now turned almost 100% vegan), there are some veggie foods that are very hard to get hold of in the UK which I have always wanted to try. Now I read a lot of vegan blogs, there are even more that I want to give a go! There were two, that up until the last 6 months, I’d never eaten, these are;


You can read all about my Seitan experiences in an earlier post. However, I’m very lazy at times, so I now buy Gluten Powder from a mail order site called flourbin. It’s as simple as throwing roughly equal portions of flour and water into the bread maker, and then simmering away in whatever broth you choose. It’s a heck of a lot easier, and when I’m feeling very lazy, I just use vegan stock cubes.

Tempeh is a different matter. Tempeh, I’ve seen for sale in two places… one, a deli shop in Lyme Regis (3 hours 24 mins) drive away, if you trust Google maps, and once in A Cooks Delight, in Berkhamsted (Which can be on my way home, but isn‘t normally, and is a pain to park near). When I saw in in the Lyme Regis shop, I bought a single jar (as it seems to be an acquired taste) and I didn’t want to end up with a lot of jars that I didn’t use. Now, this was in November… and I’ve only just in the past month had the cahones to try it! Anyway, I can confirm, Tempeh rocks! It has a sorta nutty taste, and a chewy texture a bit like the ubiquitous Quorn, which I loved, but is not vegan.

Anyway, with some looking on-line, I figured ‘I can make that’ There are lots of tutes on-line, so I won’t go into it in depth but basically the process is

Soak about 500g Soya Beans overnight (6-12 Hours)
Dehull the soya beans (this takes aaaageeeeeeeessssssss, I’m going to get a grain mill to help!)
Boil in a lot of water for 10 mins, then simmer for another 20. Add 3tbs of vinegar to retard the growth of other spores
Drain and dry very well
Add some tempeh starter culture (about 5g), mix wildy
Pack into a ziplock bag, puncture at 1cm intervals with a thick needle
Incubate at 200c for 36-48 hours
When it looks all white and forms a solid lump, its ready.

Well, my first attempt didn’t go so well. Basically, I tried using some of the left over Tempeh to make a starter culture. This didn’t work, and after a few days ‘incubation’ all I had was yeasty soya beans.

Then I ordered some starter culture online, for the princely sum of £8 something in Euros. This duely turned up from the nice people at within a few days, and I tried again. This time success!

In my father’s 30 year old environmental control cupboard with some well dehulled soy beans it took less that 24 hours for the white mycelium to cover most of the surface of the soya beans, and at 36 hours it formed a big lump.

So, what to make huh? The answer was clear ‘Tempeh Toss’ from The Garden of Vegan. This is one of the best vegan cookery books, in fact, I think this and La Dolce Vegan are the only way I’m managing to stay 99% vegan.

Anyway, this is a rather yummy recipe containing Tempeh, various veggies and some seasonings… no, I’m not giving you the recipe… the book is worth the money, quick go buy it!

Anyway, First, you cube some Tempeh (My very own stuff, yay!)

Then fry it in a little oil

Add some chopped veggies and secret herbs and spices, Then serve with whatever you like... I had Brown Rice

Okay, so the rest of the days foods were;

Brown Rice pudding with raisins & cinnamon (yum!) with a side order of toast and Marmite

Mid Morning Snack Soy Cappuccino
½ a Trek Coco Brownie shared with my other ½ - These things are so filling you really only need half…. but so tasty, you’ll want two!

Green Smoothie - Orange, Apple, Kiwi and a handful of spinach
Grilled Portabella Mushroom Sandwich with a Soy Yogurt dressing

Tempeh Toss with Brown Rice (You knew that though, Silly Heads)

I also have a special treat….. Vegan Apple and Blackberry Pie from the Co-op :-D

This was only £1.29, and satisfied a need for something sweet :) *Happy Dance time*

And I guess later on I’ll have some roasted soy nuts, or maybe some chilli flavoured baked chickpeas. Yum


Opps, accidentally rejected a comment - So I'm adding it here!

From the lovely Rae, who I used to work with, and miss deeply!

You're so organized! I've done the research but haven't gotten my act together to make tempeh & seitan. By the way, I believe you can get tempeh at Uhuru on the Cowley Road. I haven't bought any because the portion seems so paltry compared to what I could get in the States.

We have those pies at Co-op too. They do indeed satisfy a need!

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