I spent my second year of college in my first apartment with three roommates: my freshman year roommate Molly, her childhood friend Jenny, and Jenny’s partner in crime Hailey. While being introduced to splitting a household for the first time, this year in the apartment also gave me a new perspective on cooking and choosing food for reasons beyond flavor.
Our roommate Hailey was my first exposure to someone who is a vegetarian. She also chose her meals not just to be meat free but to also be healthy and nutricious- considerations I was aware of, but had never really seen someone do for themselves. It was fascinating! She exposed me to my first tofu, brown rice, peanut sauce topped broccoli, and Brag’s Amino Acid meals. These were just slightly ok in my book… I much prefered my adventures making cheese soup in bread bowls at the time.
One night, Hailey pulled out all the stops and made us teriyaki tempeh. While the concept of tofu was new to me- tempeh was unfathomable. I had no clue what it was- but it was wrapped in wonderful salty sweet teriyaki sauce, and passed the test of my taste buds.
Eugene hosts its own locally made tempeh put out by Surata Soy Foods. Tempeh is dense and meaty, being made of soybeans that are pressed into a brick and fermented giving it a deep flavor. Its density makes it very well suited to be cooked or grilled in a slab and eaten hamburger style on a soft bun.
I often find myself enjoying a food best in the style it was first introduced to me, and tempeh is one in that category:
Grilled Teriyaki Tempeh
In a sauce pan over medium high heat combine:
- 1 cup of mirin
- 1 cup of soy sauce
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1/2 cup of sake
- 1 inch of sliced fresh ginger
- 3 cloves of garlic sliced
Bring to a simmer and lay in your servings of tempeh. Simmer the tempeh in the teriyaki marinade for 5 minutes. Remove the tempeh to drain slightly and continue to boil the teriyaki sauce till reduced to one cup of liquid.
Slightly oil a grill pan and heat. Cook the tempeh till grilled nicely on each side.
Remove the tempeh and brush with the reduced sauce.
May be served ontop of salad with a sprinkling of green onions, toasted sesame seeds and juicy mandarin oranges, or as a burger like slab on a bun with a slice of tangy pineapple.