Monday, September 26, 2011

Tempeh Satay with Curried Cashew Sauce

It's finger-food time again!  Earlier this month I put up a post for Hiziki Caviar with Lemon Tofu Cream and Chives; I loved creating an elegant hors d'oeuvre that looked professionally catered.  I'm going for the same effect tonight with these deconstructed satay skewers; tempeh and cashew are a fun variation on the traditional chicken and peanuts.

For the tempeh:
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 2 teaspoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 1 pound tempeh
For the sauce:
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cashews
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1. To make the tempeh, combine the rice vinegar, soy sauce, mirin, 2 teaspoons ginger, canola oil, and crushed garlic clove in a large skillet.   Cut the tempeh into 40 cubes and add to the mixture, tossing to coat.  Bring to a boil; cover; reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes.

2. Uncover and increase the heat to medium-high.  Cook for a final 4 minutes, turning the tempeh frequently, until it is golden brown on all sides.  Let cool.  Place a toothpick in each tempeh cube and arrange on a platter.

3. To prepare the cashew sauce, heat a small saucepan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add the onion, 2 teaspoons ginger, salt, and chopped garlic; saute for 5 minutes.  Stir in the curry powder and turmeric; saute for 1 minute.  Add the water and bring to a boil; cook for 1 minute. 

4. Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a blender. Add the cashews and lemon juice; process until smooth.  Spoon the cashew sauce into a bowl, and serve while still warm, with the tempeh cubes.

If you want to continue the Indonesian theme, consider serving a dish like nasi goreng (a fried rice dish):

Anther fun Indonesian dish to try is gado-gado, a platter of vegetables and tofu in peanut sauce.  I'll leave it to you to search out your favorite version; there are dozens of variants of each available online, easily made vegan. 

Nutrition Info:
20 servings (2 tempeh cubes, about 2 teaspoons sauce), Calories 50

Tasting Notes:
Addictive little bites.  I found myself reaching again and again for another toothpick to pop one of these little goodies into my mouth.  The tempeh cubes alone were quite yummy, with great umami flavor from the soy.  The sauce was creamy and full of curry and onion.

I only have 2 complaints.  1) Definitely increase the cashews.  Two tablespoons was hardly enough to let the flavor come through, and I think adding more will make the sauce thicker and richer too. You might also try cashew butter.  2) The recipe was very unclear about what to do with the copious soy sauce mixture left in the pan after cooking the tempeh, and I hate it when recipes are unclear.  Perhaps evaporate the soy sauce mixture down after you've removed the tempeh from the pan, and turn into a richly concentrated glaze to drizzle over the tempeh before dipping in the cashew sauce.  As written, it felt like a waste to have so much unused soy sauce mixture in the pan.  But this recipe gets high marks for taste nonetheless.


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