Bento 24: Tempeh two ways
Walking back from work last Thursday, I popped into the local asian grocery store in search for any new japanese foodstuff – hoping for a nice piece of takuwan or something. Instead I found fresh tempeh in the chiller section – something that I had not seen in a very long time.
For those that have no idea what tempeh is, it is basically indonesian fermented soyabean cake – an excellent meat substitute. Apparently this was the only method of soybean fermentation that did not originate from China. I love tempeh because of its very unique texture and light flavour…not to mention versatile.
I used to buy this in Albertsons’ when I was still living in CA, but had found it impossible to find here in the UK. The only ones I could find came in a tin pre-sliced and pre-marinated – not exactly what I wanted. So when I saw it sitting at the bottom of the chiller, I HAD to get it – even though it was due to expire the next day….so I had to use it up all at one go.
My first tempeh dish was just simply sliced and deep fried until golden…no coating needed whatsoever. This is so excellent with ketchup, sriracha sauce or even plain chilli sauce….you can snack on it instead of regular chips – more nutrients in it.
The other half of the tempeh is stir fried with peppers, leftover cauliflower, fermented spicy bean paste, dried chillies and oyster sauce. Mm Mm good. It could really do with some greens, but I was keen on using up leftover vegetables in my fridge. So all it went into this one stirfry
With so much going on, it all of course had to be incorporated into a bento!
I tied a stack of deep fried tempeh sticks with spring onion which I had popped into the microwave for a few seconds to soften. This is then propped up with cucumber flowers. For an edible baran (and to participate in hapa bento’s B.O.M.B !!!!) a piece of tempeh cut to size to fit in with the box. Ha, I thought that was very clever :). I placed carrot flowers on top of the baran, and on the other side add scooped in some of the leftover stirfry tempeh. Definately a protein overload day!! I removed the cucumber (and the blueberry on a nail pick) before microwaving the lot.
I added pre portioned frozen brown rice at the bottom to soak up the stirfry, and to umamify the whole dish, a sprinkle of the yummilicious bacon furikake I made yesterday…Delish!
Oh, just realised that the B.O.M.B competition mentioned any color of leaf or veg – not too sure if soybean cake consist of vegetables? Oh well – it was fun anyway – one side of the tempeh was slightly soaked with the sauce from the stirfry but it was still edible!