As part of being more plant based with our diet, we figured we’d give tempeh a try for protein. We had an amazing dish with it in Bali but I have no idea what to do with tempeh or how it even tastes on its own, so I made it a couple different ways to test it out.
All of them were cut into cubes, coated in a bit of oil, cooked, then salted. Separately I made a peanut sauce (peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil) for actually consuming them after.
Pictured top I first steamed it for 10 minutes, then patted it dry, then air fried it for 11 minutes at 375F. I’d read online that steaming it first makes it less bitter.
Pan fried turned out very uneven in browning. The more burnt bits were extra bitter. Air fried was pretty evenly crispy on the outside, pretty good. Baked was better than pan fried but not as evenly crispy as air fried. The middle was still a bit raw tasting, which seems to be what gives it the bitter taste.
Steamed then air fried was by far the best. Steaming it actually made a big difference. Tasting the just air fried vs steamed first side by side, the steamed was nuttier and crispier. My guess is the steaming cooks the inside so there’s no rawness, which makes the nuttyness come out stronger.
Overall, tempeh is pretty interesting. Definitely more flavor on its own than tofu, but I like that tofu takes the flavor of what you make with it, and I like the texture of tofu more.
I’d still like to learn how to make the version I had in Bali. It was much more crispy, almost chip-like. Next time I’ll try shallow fry and cutting it into smaller pieces for more crisp. And I need to look at other sauces to go with tempeh.