Monday, May 4, 2009

Tempeh Chips

(Left) Enoki mushrooms, (Right) Tempeh

I remember taking my first bite of tempeh as a kid. Back then, my mum made me eat the tempeh which she had fried without a trace of seasoning. Needless to say, I spat out that mouthful of cardboard without even swallowing. My parents kept egging me on. "Try it," they urged, "It's very nutritious!" I stood my ground and kept my mouth firmly sealed.

From that day on, I avoided tempeh like the plague. It's not even nice to look at! When raw, it looks strange, coated with all that white stuff. When cooked, it looks even worse - brown and bumpy. 

It was not until I became a mother myself - when I employed domestic help from Indonesia - that I was re-introduced to tempeh again. My helper told me that this was one of their staples, as commonly eaten as rice. She showed me how they seasoned it before frying. It's so basic, but it makes all the difference.  

Tempeh Chips
Batter
- Garlic
- Salt 
- Rice flour
- Coriander seeds (optional)

1. Pound the garlic and coriander seeds until you get a fine paste.

2. Add salt to taste.

3. Add water.

4. Add rice flour. If your batter is too thick, add more water. The consistency should resemble something like tempura batter.

5. Slice the tempeh lengthwise into half, so that you have 2 thin slabs. Then cut the slabs into squares. The thinner the tempeh, the crispier it will be when fried.

6. Dip the tempeh squares into batter and fry. Ensure that there is enough oil so that it doesn't stick to the pan.

7. Fry till a nice golden brown. I normally leave the tempeh on some tempura paper to soak up excess oil. Serve.

As you can see in the left of the photo, I tried the same thing with enoki mushrooms. It's just as crispy and savoury. These make for wonderful hors d'oeuvres or a snack. It's definitely a much healthier munchie than potato chips.

My kids love snacking on these tempeh chips, which are fantastic eaten plain. There is this garlicky goodness that makes it so addictive. But if you fancy, whip up homemade dips like honey mayo or wasabi mayo. Or simply use these chips to mop up dishes with thick gravies, eg, curries. Try it! It's a good way to introduce tempeh to the young ones. 

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