Braised Tempeh in a Tomato and Soy Sauce

I made another failed batch of tempeh over the long weekend. Sigh. Tempeh is so picky!! I’m nearly certain it got too hot. I think when I use the yogurt maker, at least in the summer, I need to not put the lid on it at all. I was putting it on ajar – really sort of half on, half off – for the first 12 hours or so, then removing it, but I forgot to remove it and when I remembered, the thermometer was reading 100 or 105 degrees Fahrenheit: too high. I pluckily tried a second batch that day, though – without the cover – and that one turned out. I can pretty much make tofu in my sleep, but I am no master of tempeh at this point.

Since I did manage to have a good batch, tonight was tempeh night. I’d had it in my mind to cook the tempeh in a tomato/soy sauce combination, which I thought might go well for my planned side dish, and flipping through a couple of cookbooks for inspiration, I came across exactly what I was looking for. This recipe was adapted from Mark Bittman’s Braised Tempeh Three Ways in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.

Braised Tempeh in a Tomato and Soy Sauce

12 ounces tempeh, chopped in 1″ pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 thumb-sized piece of garlic, minced or grated
1 large can chopped or whole tomatoes
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 very small head Savoy cabbage
several leaves of regular or Thai basil, torn

Prepare the ingredients by mincing or pressing the garlic and mincing or grating the ginger:

Tear up the basil:

Chop the tempeh:

If you are using whole tomatoes, pulse with an immersion blender a few times to break them up:

In a large skillet or wok, fry the tempeh in some oil until it is beginning to brown:

Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for a minute. I added a little water to the pan because the tempeh had absorbed all the oil and I didn’t want to use more:

Add the tomatoes and soy sauce:

… and the cabbage:

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and boil at an active simmer for 15-20 minutes. Toss in basil and season with salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste.

I served it with China Forbes’ Quinoa with Avocado from Tea and Cookies.

In other news, Mark and I went to a nearby regional park on Sunday and I captured this picture of a deer:

I’m sharing this with you mostly because that picture cost me more than 25 bug bites, from my scalp to my toes, and damn it, I’m making it worthwhile by showing it to whoever will look at it! I AM SO ITCHY! There were three deer in all, and they stood there in the distance staring at us for a full 5 minutes while I switched to my telephoto lens from the macro lens. I don’t know why. Perhaps they knew I was being eaten alive by bugs and found it amusing. Here is what I had just photographed with the macro lens, though:

It’s an extremely tiny frog!

And finally, this also has absolutely nothing to do with food, but since you always see pictures of Mark, and you always see pictures of Tigger, but you never see pictures of me, here is a self-portrait I took this weekend of me and Tigger. I’m completely amazed Tigger’s looking at the camera: I was controlling it with a remote. I always thought he was looking at me when I took his picture, but I guess he’s so used to having his picture taken he knows what to do even if I’m not behind the camera!


  1. Sarah Said,

    July 9, 2008 @ 2:43 am

    So glad to see a photo of you! So lovely.

    And the recipe sounds delicious. Ill have to go out and get some, since I do not think I am ready to make it, 🙂

  2. Jimmy Said,

    July 10, 2008 @ 9:34 am

    Wow, you have a handsome cat.(I guess it is male)

  3. Mom Said,

    July 12, 2008 @ 8:15 am

    Tigger has almost the same expression in the picture called “Baby Tigger,” except Renae is not in that one. He also has the same expression in one of took of him on our steps in 1995. That must be his handsome “look.”

  4. renae Said,

    July 12, 2008 @ 10:51 pm

    All of Tigger’s looks are his handsome looks!

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