Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tempeh Helper

Tempeh Helper, page 171


I'm bummed that this one turned out to be a disappointment for us tonight. However, I'm not willing to completely write it off; I think I might try this again, but with a minor but essential adjustment. The girls had high hopes for the Tempeh Helper, and I did, too - it seemed like such an easy peasy kid-pleaser after a long day out, when it's just me to cook and clean-up since El Hombre is out of town for work.

The problem was the tempeh. There were no instructions to pre-steam or boil the tempeh before crumbling it into the pan for browning, like most tempeh recipes, which I believe removes some of the bitterness that tempeh sometimes has. I kinda wondered about this... was it assumed that I would already know to do this step, and therefore it was not written into the recipe? Or was this step unnecessary for this recipe? I went with the theory that maybe it wasn't necessary; the recipe was, after all, billed as a quick-dump-in-the-pot kind of dish. So, I didn't steam the tempeh before cooking, and I ended up regretting that decision. The tempeh had a fairly bitter bite to it, and neither of the girls even finished their serving. Sad. They suggested maybe "Tofu Helper" would be a better idea.

Someday I might give this another go, with the extra step of pre-steaming the tempeh. Maybe.

Has anyone else tried this recipe? What did you think?

10 comments:

Lexi C. said...

I use TVP in this recipe instead of tempeh. We love it that way. Sometimes I add mushrooms too, but I read that you don't love them. ;)

JASSandMoo said...

I've made that recipe, and I didn't steam the tempeh, but I never steam tempeh. I tried it once and it made no difference in taste to me so I just never do it anymore. I liked it, but my son didn't (he's pretty picky and doesn't typically like tempeh regardless).

Jessica Caneal said...

same. exact. experience. should have steamed it!

Jaime said...

I made this with TVP as well... being a non-vegan and a cheese lover, I thought this was gross, but my husband (a lactos intolerant vegetarian!) and my 2 year old loved it and had more than one helping.

mollyjade said...

I think some people notice the bitterness and some don't. I've never noticed it, but my husband does. So I only steam if I'm sharing.

lazysmurf said...

I love this one! The first time we made it was awesome, the next time not so much. Now I do my own spice mix when I make it because I think the onion and garlic powders are too intense.

I think steaming the tempeh would help or try that new local tempeh that they have at Wheatsville, it is a lot less bitter.

But give it a second shot because if you find a way to like it it is the easiest weeknight meal ever.

darlene said...

I love this one! I think I remember reading Isa wrote somewhere the spices are so distinctive in this recipe one doesn't need to steam the tempeh, since the sauce "stands up to" the tempeh, but because I'm kind of a wuss I always steam the tempeh and it's delicious. (Omnivore husband agrees.)

Also, be careful to use "granulated" garlic and onion "flakes" as opposed to powders, (there is a difference!), because the powders really take it to unpleasant bitterness levels.

Finally, I always serve it mixed with steamed broccoli, as I love that combination and perhaps it cuts the intensity of the sauce a bit. Steamed asparagus would be good, too, now that I think about it!

Jules said...

Thanks for all the insight! I'll definitely be giving this one another try...

I'Asha said...

I had the same problem with the bitterness. But, it settled down and was wonderful the next day/

Belle Dee said...

I think I did steam the tempeh a bit before I cooked this one. I basically just put it in a pan with some water (almost covering the tempeh) and let it cook till the water was almost gone. Then drained out as much of the water that I could and used the same pan to brown it in. It was still a bit on the bitter side, I didn't mind it so much because I'll eat tempeh raw, in salads. My husband didn't seem to like it very much because it still had some of the bitterness.

On a side note, I'm totally addicted to that 'cheese' sauce. I use it a lot!