I have a block of tempeh that's mocking me.
July 14, 2009 7:40 AM   Subscribe

Tempeh, yogurt cumin sauce, and a grill. What can I do with this?

I want something interesting for dinner, and I'd like to contend with the block of tempeh in the refrigerator that's been sitting there like a culinary to-do item.

Yesterday I made some yogurt sauce w/cucumber, cumin, and a little cayenne and garlic. I'd like to eat it with the tempeh, and figured the way to do that is to incorporate curry into the tempeh, either with a sauce or by marinating. The other thing is that it's hot and I'd like to do this on the grill.

Can I get some ideas that would be work with these elements? Other potential components include lots of oranges, half a fennel bulb, potatoes and onions, and some leftover brown rice. A couple nectarines.

The yogurt/tempeh/brown rice combination here probably makes me sound like I'm going to have really hippy dippy tastes, but I don't, I just like food. So if the answer is to fry the tempeh in bacon fat, I'm all right with that.
posted by A Terrible Llama to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Sweet potato salad. Throw the sweet potatoes on the grill, toss with the yogurt sauce. Add a little curry powder and lime if you have it. As for tempeh, I can only stomach it as a pizza topping (ie - a salty, crunchy, cheese-covered blob).
posted by pintapicasso at 7:44 AM on July 14, 2009

Best answer: My first thought was to marinate the tempeh in a little bit of the yogurt sauce, then grill it and serve with the rest of the sauce. I'd also grill the fennel and the onions, then toss those with the brown rice, juice a few of the oranges and make a dressing with that (maybe add a little curry here, but I'm not sure).

Yum! Please report back.
posted by janet lynn at 8:06 AM on July 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'd grill the tempeh with some garlic and cumin (or your choice of spices) and then do it up like a gyro or falafel wrap. Wrap up the tempeh with some lettuce, tomato, and sauce on a pita. I also like to add pickles or spicy marinated veggies to mine.

Then, I'd make a middle eastern style potato salad out of the potatoes and onions. (Usually grilled, no mayo...)

If you want to use up the orange and fennel as well, try a orange fennel salad. Here's a ton of recipes to pick from.

Please update us when you're done, would love to hear what you ended up doing with it!
posted by pghjezebel at 8:31 AM on July 14, 2009

Yeah, it sounds like you've got something similar to a tempeh tikka kebab with fennel and nectarine basmati salad.

Put a dry rub of salt, pepper, garlic and ginger paste on the tempeh squares, let sit for 30 minutes. Then marinade in the cumin yogurt marinade (maybe add some cayenne or hot peppers if you have them) for 6-8 hours. Grill on kebab sticks, along with some veggies.

A good addition to the fennel nectarine pilaf might be mint.
posted by billtron at 1:12 PM on July 14, 2009

I am with Janet Lynn. I think you may be over thinking this block of beans.
posted by pointilist at 7:46 PM on July 14, 2009

Response by poster: Okay-- I think I took a little from everyone:

It turned out great, although due to some baby wrangling that came up, I didn't grill it.

I marinated it for a few hours in a little (it wasn't swimming in it--it was more like a lotion than a bath. There's probably a better way to put that) apple cider vinegar, oil, cumin, chili powder, garlic, and salt. I chopped an organic tomato and squeezed it over everything then threw that in as well. Then a few shakes of hot sauce and I flipped it every now and then. I did this at room temperature.

The other half of the fennel bulb originally went to an orange fennel salad, as that's pretty much all I know how to do with fennel, so for variety I pan-roasted it first with lots of salt and pepper until brown on the outside and lightly caramelized. So then I threw that with some chopped red onions, orange wedges, and a small amount of lemon vinaigrette.

I never went in the curry direction. Instead I went smokey, which worked with the cumin in the yogurt sauce, in the marinade, and with the pan roasted fennel and had a great contrast with the cool yogurt, especially the cucumbers in it.

I think another thing that made it extra delicious was that I was pretty aggressive with my good friend salt.

And the yogurt sauce was great. I'm glad I waited a day on that one. It was with that Greek yogurt everyone keeps raving about. Typically, I'm not a yogurt person (and I'm not a "health food" person, despite occasional interest in tempeh and yogurt) but that stuff really is pretty luscious and has this kind of underlying sour flavor that is nice when combined with its rich texture.

So that's what I did.

Thanks very much everyone!
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:33 AM on July 15, 2009

Response by poster: Hah! Forgot to say how I cooked the tempeh.

I pan-fried it, medium high heat, small amount of oil, four to five minutes each side, at the end, removed from heat and added the remaining marinade to the pan (which included the tomatoes) until they collapsed in the heat, then plated the tempeh with the tomatoes over it. The tomatoes turned out to be a good addition.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:36 AM on July 15, 2009

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