Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Pineapple tempeh

Never say never.
Today, I wrote a comment on Laurie's blog that I probably would not try tempeh unless it was in an Indonesian dish, in Indonesia. What a stupid statement! One should try everything at least once in their lifetime of course. If I go about convincing people that tofu can be gorgeous in the right dish, why don't I apply that with tempeh? Tempeh has been used in Indonesia for so long that I can't believe it would have continued to exist if it was that bad, protein source or not.
Any ingredient can taste good in the right recipe. Now, in order to punish myself for this stupid statement, I went out to buy tempeh next door (I've seen it there many many time along all the vegetarian alternatives, some I still haven't tried) with the intention to cook it tonight, which I bravely did. There was only one type of tempeh which made my choice easy.
I must say, I rather liked raw tempeh, although I did recognise the taste as raw indeed... Of course, I did a bit of preparation. I looked on the internet on several tempeh specific websites and odd recipes:
http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Cookbook:Tempe_Mendoan http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/maple-grilled-tempeh-recipe.html
I read the type of recipes, cooking process, looked at the indonesian recipes, tips and advices (count 1/2h in total). After this, I did not want to cook any of the recipes I'd seen, but I did build a mental image of how I could like it.
So I wanted a marinade, but not too long, I needed to taste the tempeh raw to give myself an idea of what it would go with, what type of consistency... And tried to imagine what the food is like in Indonesia (never been there, and I only have a tasted a few dishes, in the West.. so very superficial knowledge of the cuisine and ingredients, hence it was just the fruit of my imagination really). So here's what happened in my frankenstein kitchen:

- 200g tempeh
- 1 red onion
- 1 can pineapple

- A nail of finely chopped ginger
- 1/4tsp tamarind paste
- 1 small garlic clove finely chopped
- 1 pinch Chinese 5 spice
- 1 tsp concentrate tomato
- 1 dash ketchup
- 1 dash oyster sauce (vegans and vegetarians abstain of course...)
- 1 dash soy sauce
- 1 dash pineapple juice.

I boiled the tempeh for 10 min to get rid of the bitter taste then cut it in small cubes
Then I coated the tempeh in the marinade.
In the meantime I chopped an onion and cooked it until the ' just before golden' state so that it would keep its tangyness. Then I added the tempeh and half the pineapple chopped in regular squarish bits. I cooked that for about 10 minutes, then dish it and added on top the rest of the pineapple.

Result: I must say I am quite pleased. I think tempeh is quite happy along with tastes like pineapple, tamarind and ginger and a light amount of sweet taste, that flatter it, make it lighter and complement its texture. The very juicy pineapple prevents the tempeh to seem dry.
I would recommend this dish, I thought it tasted good, however I can't see it dethroning ever the duck I did a few post ago...
Remark: Like Laurie, I noticed that tempeh seems to leave a lingering after taste.... Also, I'd advise to marinate the tempeh for a few hours for best results.
This dish also passed the fast, easy and tasty test!

Source: my own experimentation


Joeli said...

It looks good, but I can't say that I'm tempted to try it. The texture of the tempeh looks...odd.

I have to ask though, what is that bent/swirly thing in the first two photos after you list the ingredients?

mycookinghut said...

This is very new to me!!

Christelle said...

Joeli: Well, I still prefer tofu, But I must say, I had it cold for lunch today too, and it was pretty nice :)
For the red swirly thing, it's the tomato concentrate, it was from a tube!

mycookinghut: A completely new one for me too! but I'll re do the dish with something less vegetarian than tempeh I must say!I'd like to try it the Indonesian way too, sheer curiosity...

Joeli said...

Lol, not the red thing, the metal thing! It looks like a swirly spoon/whisk?

Christelle said...

Joeli: Ah yes, it's a spoon, the twist allows to rest it on the rim of jars, I love them, could not do without them! I originally bought them because of the original shape, not the functionality!!