09 Oct 2012
Vegan MoFo 2012 – Taking tempeh risks
Breaking the habit with a much-loved ingredient
Today I’m cooking from Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, and trying out a new recipe using a favourite ingredient that I rarely mix up.
I remember when I got Vegan Brunch as I was just starting to get into homemade vegan sausages.
Vegan Brunch included recipes for cherry sage, chorizo and Italian feast vegan sausages and I tried them all, experimenting with different spices. It was a lot of fun.
I did make other things from the book, but mainly from the baked goods chapter. I’m a big fan of the muffins and they never fail me. My favourites are the zucchini spelt (much to Isa’s discouragement, I do add raisins), lemon-poppyseed (featured in a few SVBS) and the bakery berry ones.
Vegan Brunch is also full of savoury recipes but for the most part I’ve neglected them. Given this, I decided to look for something that would double as light dinner and lunch with salad. Turn to page 132 and those little golden, fried cakes caught my eye – again.
I’ve ogled that food photo for a while, yet I don’t know why I keep skipping the Chesapeake Tempeh Cakes. Maybe it’s because vegan mayo is not a common thing in our house. But as I’d just opened a jar to make Better than Tuna Salad, I had everything ready to go.
As I was stocktaking ingredients, I pulled the tempeh out from the fridge. It then dawned on me why I really haven’t made this recipe… It’s because I’m stuck in my tempeh ways.
You see, this is what happens: I look at a slab of tempeh, instantly imagine my favourite tempeh dishes and thus crave and make them.
Rinse and repeat.
It’s a cycle that prevents me from moving on and trying new recipes. Call it risk aversion.
But during MoFo I am moving on. I’m picking up my tempeh block and declaring “Today, you will not be covered in satay!”
Chesapeake Tempeh Cakes
Hint: If you don’t own a copy of Vegan Brunch, you can find this recipe on The PPK.
Although the many seasonings extend the ingredient list, this really is a quick and simple recipe to put together. Since I didn’t have any mild wholegrain mustard, I used a German hot wholegrain…Bonus spicy kick ;)
I opted to use dulse flakes over nori sheets since I’d bought a massive pack and will take any opportunity to use more.
I’ve only used dulse flakes a couple of times, mostly in raw recipes. I’ve found that sometimes they can be a bit gritty eating, so in an effort to avoid this, I decided to simmer the dulse with the tempeh. Hopefully it would impart more flavour too, who knows.
After simmering, the tempeh was mashed up with the liquid and left to cool.
While I waited, I mixed the remoulade which was very easy. It tasted spicier than expected and really creamy.
Once the tempeh was cold, it was just a matter of adding in the panko, sauces, seasonings, mayo and capsicum into the bowl.
Then time to shape the cakes and roll into more panko breadcrumbs. I think my patties were a little large as I didn’t quite make ten.
At this point the cakes are supposed to be pan-fried but not wanting to add extra oil, or washing up, I decided to bake them.
I can’t remember how long I baked them for (20 minutes?), but I did turn them a couple of times. It became clear that the panko crumbs were not going to brown much so I considered them done.
We ate these for dinner on a bed of salad and lemon, served with the remoulade. I also took the leftovers for lunch the next day.
I really enjoyed these tempeh cakes. They are not something I’d make regularly given I try to avoid breadcrumb binders and mayo, but they were a really nice change.
The remoulade had a good kick of spice and the dulse in the tempeh cakes added a salty, sea-flavour. I’m sure the cakes would be extra nice lightly fried, but they were still very crispy straight out of the oven.
I plan to make these again for friends and serve as smaller cakes/balls for an appetiser. I will double the remoulade though, as we were a little heavy-on with the dipping.
So there it is, a new tempeh recipe done! I admit that given Isa’s fine way with food, this was a somewhat calculated recipe risk… but baby steps nonetheless :)