Monday, May 7, 2012

Thai tempeh cakes


You may remember that in the past I have been lukewarm about tempeh, not really sure if I liked it or not. Well these tempeh cakes have convinced me once and for all that I do indeed enjoy tempeh. For me, it's all about the preparation - I find that tempeh is best crumbled or mashed into a patty and combined with strong flavors. This recipe is the perfect example, the tempeh is mixed with lemongrass, garlic, ginger, and cilantro and the cakes are served with a spicy-sweet dipping sauce...sounds pretty good, huh? I don't think I've ever had an appetizer like this before, and I really enjoyed it. I know that some of my readers have had bad experiences with tempeh - if you want to give it another chance, you should definitely try this!

Thai tempeh cakes
Adapted from Thai: the essence of Asian cooking
Makes 6 cakes

For cakes:
1 lemongrass stalk, outer leaves removed and inside cut into a few large pieces
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 green onions, white root end discarded
2 shallots, cut into a few pieces
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into a few slices
1/4 cup cilantro sprigs
8 oz. tempeh, coarsely chopped
2 tbs fresh lime juice
1 tsp sugar
3 tbs all-purpose flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbs canola oil

For dipping sauce:
3 tbs mirin (sweet rice wine)
3 tbs white wine vinegar
1 green onion, white root end discarded, green parts thinly sliced
1/2 tbs sugar
2 fresh red chiles, thinly sliced (discard seeds to reduce heat)
1 tbs finely chopped cilantro leaves

Mix together all the ingredients for the dipping sauce in a small bowl and set aside.

Place lemongrass, garlic, green onions, shallots, ginger, and cilantro in the bowl of a food processor. Process until finely chopped. Add the tempeh, lime juice and sugar and process until well combined. Add salt to taste, then add the flour and egg and process until mixture forms a fairly smooth, sticky paste.

Heat a heavy pan (cast iron works well) over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add canola oil and swirl to coat. Form tempeh mixture into 6 patties and place them in the pan. Cook patties for about 4-5 minutes per side, until they are well browned. Serve with dipping sauce.


  1. Oh I am LOVING this idea with tempeh and thai flavors! fabulous!

  2. So interesting that you like it best crumbled. I feel like the whole appeal of tempeh is that it comes in these firm bricks. I haven't had it in years, but I used to love it in sandwiches.

    1. When I've cooked it in larger pieces, I've found that it had too much of a bitter taste, but crumbling it and coating it with other flavors fixes that =)

  3. I love tempeh but I can definitely see why some people wouldn't. I just happen to really like bitter flavors, I think. These tempeh cakes sound amazing! Thai flavors make all things better, I'm convinced.

  4. I would definitely be on of those readers that is not quite sold on tempeh .... this seems like a promising technique though!

  5. Superb ! Your blog is incredible. I am delighted with it. Thanks for sharing with me.

  6. wow... new look is so beautiful aks... especially loved the header fonts... Superb... cake is awesome...


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