We LOVE tempeh - it’s just such a filling and wonderful addition to meals. People have varying opinions and research about soy but we follow our intuition/instincts, and we really love tempeh as well as tofu, and find our bodies do too. We think its a great source of plant protein and eat it pretty often. However, both of them can be kind of boring and lack flavor if under-seasoned. But this marinade changes everything!
Recently we discovered that one of our favorite restaurants in town, Conscious Culture Cafe, serves a marinated tempeh that is on another level. We’re friends with the owners because Ryan does the branding and package design for their sister company, Big Island Booch. They’re a pretty radical entrepreneurial couple that actually were awarded Small Business People of the Year on the Big Island. Super inspiring, and generous too. Brendan gave Ryan a general recipe, and we spun it from there, with loads of success. :))
Of course, it won’t stop us from going there often and getting their Tempeh Reuben, or the Veg Head sandwich or or Roasted Veggie bowl PLUS a side of tempeh. :) We know the tricks! ;) But now we’ve been able to make our spin-off version, and play with the marinade on other proteins like tofu (way different but just as good!).
This is not their exact recipe. We used their general formula but altered it to our taste and to protect their privacy. Theirs is thick, sticky, and sweet; where ours emphasizes the smokiness, savory qualities, and deep umami flavor a bit more.
If you are able to visit Hilo, absolutely go to CCC and try it; you wont be disappointed! But if you can’t yet visit that fine establishment, you can make our version at home to your liking! And feel free to do what we did, and make your own derivative or use this profile to come up with a new creation! And feel free to share that back to us so you can help US expand our repertoire. :P
Okay here it is…
1/4 cup Tamari (low sodium is good)
2 tbsp Maple Syrup
1/4 cup Coconut Aminos
2 tbsp cup Dark Miso (optional, but deepens flavor and adds umami)
1 tsp Dried Chipotle Peppers - minced (adds heat/spice)
1 tsp Liquid Smoke
two 8-oz package Tempeh - we used the brand Lightlife, flax flavor
1 16-oz. package Tofu
There is a couple ways to do this: Quick or Chill (Slow, Longer, etc.)
Place all liquids, chipotle pepper if using, and tempeh in a large ziplock bag.
Zip the bag closed, leaving a small opening for a straw.
Place straw in the opening and suck out any air you can without sipping marinade. The goal here is to create an airtight effect so there is little air in the bag, and less room for the marinade to move - therefore, soaking into the tempeh faster.
Let it sit in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.
Fry on each side in a pan with a tablespoon of oil of your choice.*
*I used Myokos butter. When Ryan made it he used a combo of hempseed and coconut oil.
Place all liquid ingredients and diced chipotle pepper if using, in a wide and shallow Tupperware-type container.
Whisk for until well incorporated.
Cut tempeh in half length-wise (as if cutting a sandwich roll) for best absorption of marinade, then into desired size.
Place tempeh in the tupperware and allow to sit for an hour minimum; overnight is best.
A good idea is to shake it up a bit occasionally so all pieces get coated and soaked in marinade evenly. Flipping them halfway through soaking is a great idea too.
Cook on the stovetop or bake in the oven when you’re ready to eat.
When buying liquid smoke, make sure you are not getting synthetic versions, but kinds made from real wood smoke. We used this Colgin Natural Mesquite Liquid Smoke (but there’s not a whole lot of options for things like this locally on the island)
If you have extra marinade left over, you can add more protein and repeat the soaking until it's gone. We just started making this but have gone 2 or 3 rounds at least.
Instead of pan frying, you could alternatively bake in the oven at 400º for 20-30 minutes.
Try this marinade with other proteins of your choice! It’d probably be a great baste for vegetables such as carrot or baked potatoes as well.
This tempeh/tofu is great with a salad, on the side of a balanced meal, or by itself!
As always, if you make this recipe and LOVE IT (which we think you will) share it on social media and tag us! @space