Today’s recipe is a riff, one of my favorites from Andrea Nguyen’s recent book Vietnamese Food Any Day. It’s a caramelized tempeh sprinkle that instantly becomes the best part of your rice bowl. If you are on the fence about tempeh this is the place to start.
What is tempeh?
Tempeh is a fermented soy-based whole food food that is very popular in traditional Indonesian culture. To make tempeh, soybeans are soaked, partially cooked, combined with an appetizer, and then spread out in a layer to allow fermentation to take place. There is a lot going on at this stage, and you can read a more detailed bit by bit about tempeh production here. Soybean tempeh is the most common, but other variations are available. You may also see tempeh combined with other Kraft ingredients like flax or other grains.
Andrea admits that tempeh is not a traditional Vietnamese ingredient, but she uses it in banh mi, pho, and sprinkles like this to mimic meat, “when crumbled into small pieces … tempeh absorbs the spices well and fries well.” . “”
Why tempeh is such a power food
Tempeh is widely considered a powerful ingredient because it is rich in nutrients. It also weighs well on fiber, antioxidant, and protein fronts. Add the fermentation factor to this (basically, fermentation helps with nutrient absorption and digestibility) and you don’t mind a food that works for you. Many people like to replace tempeh with something meaty. For example, this tempeh crumble could take the place of a pork crumble. You can find more tempeh recipes here, and I also like this list of tempeh benefits on McKels Nutrition Stripped Site. More tempeh in 2020!
The Tempeh Crumble Recipe
In Andrea’s version, she uses 1/2 cup of chopped lemongrass. The lemongrass adds wonderfully fragrant citrus notes and is one of my favorite flavors. That said, when I was in a hurry to make dinner, I skipped the half cup of chopped lemongrass (the lemongrass in my yard is crazy hard) and did this shortcut version over and over. Serrano chilies and extra spring onions are used – still very tasty, just quick to throw together.
Ways to use the tempeh crumble
Here (above) you can see the tempeh as part of a rice bowl. The basic ingredients are rice and the tempeh crumble, as well as anything that is light and close at hand in the refrigerator or pantry. I grabbed peanuts, some garden salads, cucumber, pickled carrots, and avocado. A dash of guacamole would not be undesirable. The streusel would also be great on those vegan nachos, in those garlic and lime salad wraps, or instead of the tempeh in this taco salad.