15 March 2008

Vietnamese Tempeh Salad

Our tempeh kick continues with this salad from The Cafe Brenda Cookbook. We picked the book up from a friend who used to work there—it’s even signed by the author! Things sometimes read better on the menu then they actually tasted at Cafe Brenda, but there were some outstanding dishes too, and this salad is one of them (though the soba noodles with tahini were truly memorable as well).

Vietnamese Warm Tempeh Salad
Adapted from Brenda Langton and Margaret Stuart, The Cafe Brenda Cookbook (1992)

The Marinade:

  • 1.5 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs. of ginger, minced
  • 1/4 cu. mirin
  • 1/4 cu. tamari
  • 3 Tbs. orange juice
  • tempeh
Saute the garlic and ginger in a skillet for a few seconds, then add the liquid ingredients, reserving 1 Tbs. of the juice. Add the tempeh and simmer, covered, for a few minutes on each side. Set the tempeh aside and reserve the marinade. Add the remaining Tbs. of juice to the marinade to reconstitute it and keep it for use as a sauce later.

The dressing:
  • 1/3 cu. rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cu. veggie oil
  • 1 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbs. sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/2 Tbs. soy
  • 1/2 Tbs. honey
  • pinch of cayenne
Whisk it, whisk it good ....

The salad:
  • Just use some lettuce and a mixture of whatever looks good: carrots, cukes, peapods, sprouts, tomatoes, scallions, onions ...
  • Rice noodles
  • Roasted peanuts
  • Mint and ginger, for garnish
Cut your veggies as you like for a salad, blanching anything too crunchy, like carrots. Prepare the rice noodles and chill. Brown the tempeh, which will burn very easily after the marinade step above. Dress the lettuce with the toasted sesame dressing, and use it to make a bed for the rest of the salad. Add noodles and top with some of the marinade. Cut and add the tempeh. Garnish with scallions, mint, cilatro, and peanuts.

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