Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Jerk Tempeh

This is inspired by Jamaican jerk cooking, but probably not authentic in any way. Any one of the tofu-seitan-tempeh trinity work well with jerk-style spices. Since I'm lazy, I like blending all of the spices together, adding some liquid, and putting it in the oven to roast for 45 minutes or so. True jerk cooking apparently involves grilling. I think this would be fun to try with seitan, which is pretty grill-friendly. The marinade will seem really sharp after it's blended, but the flavors mellow out nicely while roasting - but it's still good and spicy.

1 8 oz. package tempeh, cut into cubes or triangles or whatever
1 smallish onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed and coarsely chopped
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, chopped (it's all going in the blender, remember)
2 tbsp. sweetener (I used half brown rice syrup, half brown sugar, but anything sweet works)
1 tsp. allspice
2 tbsp. tamari or braggs
1 tbsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. cinnamon or nutmeg, or both - why the hell not?
2 tbsp. lemon or lime juice
1 tsp. cayenne pepper sauce or red pepper flakes - anything good and hot...fresh peppers too
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup liquid (this is a work in progress for me, so try whatever - water, beer, veggie broth)

1. I think that's everything. Put all ingredients (except the tempeh, silly) in the blender and hit it. Make sure the whole mess is nice and ground up.

2. In a baking dish, pour the marinade over the tempeh chunks. If you've planned ahead, let it marinate for a couple of hours, but it will still be good if you just throw it in the oven now. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 F, covered with foil the first 30 minutes. The times are pretty flexible - just watch so your marinade doesn't completely dry up - you want a little sauce left over.

3. Serve over your favorite grain. I used cooked brown basmati rice, mixed with 1/2 cup of coconut milk and some steamed green peas. Nummy. It might not be much to look at, but this is tasty stuff.

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