Jerk refers to a style of cooking, usually of meat, that originates in Jamaica.
Marinaded in a hot spicy paste, that traditionally includes scotch bonnet chillies and allspice.
In the spirit of all things vegan, I thought I would try it with tempeh, which is good at soaking up flavours if you treat it right. It worked really well, so here’s what I did.
Just a quick note – particularly for anyone who hasn’t come across tempeh before, because it is a great addition to a varied vegan repertoire …this is what Wikipedia says about tempeh:
Tempeh (/ˈtɛmpeɪ/; Javanese: témpé, Javanese pronunciation: [tempe]) is a traditional soy product originating from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form. Tempeh is unique among major traditional soy foods in that it is the only one that did not originate from Greater Chinese cuisine.
It originated in today’s Indonesia, and is especially popular on the island of Java, where it is a staple source of protein. Like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans, but it is a whole soybean product with different nutritional characteristics and textural qualities. Tempeh’s fermentation process and its retention of the whole bean give it a higher content of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamins. It has a firm texture and an earthy flavor, which becomes more pronounced as it ages. Because of its nutritional value, tempeh is used worldwide in vegetarian cuisine, where it is used as a meat analogue.
Tempeh is much sturdier than tofu, and it’s therefore a great ingredient to use in this recipe, as whether you griddle it (as I have) or barbecue it, it should withstand this style of cooking without falling apart, as long as you don’t slice it too thin.
In the UK, slabs of tempeh are usually bought frozen. To prepare it for cooking: defrost, and then submerge it in a dish of warm water for about 15 mins. This will ‘relax’ the tempeh, allowing it to absorb the flavours of the marinade.
It will sit in the marinade all day, but marinade it for at least 3 hours for good results.
225 gms. Tempeh. (defrosted if necessary).
- 5 tbs. olive oil
- juice of 2 limes
- 6 spring onions : washed trimmed and roughly chopped
- 1-2 scotch bonnet chillies (add heat to taste 🙂 )
- 4 large garlic cloves: peeled and roughly chopped
- 5 gms. fresh thyme
- 2 cm. stick fresh ginger: peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 tbs. sweetener (I used dark fruit syrup)
- 3 tsps. powdered Allspice
- 1.5 tsps. salt
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- Relax the defrosted Tempeh by submerging it in a dish of warm water for 15 mins.
- Remove the tempeh from the water and pat dry with kitchen roll.
- Slice the tempeh into slices approx. 1 cm. thick.
- Arrange the slices in a flat dish (see pics.)
- Place all the marinade ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth.
- Pour the marinade (it will be quite a thick paste) over the tempeh.
- Turn the tempeh once or twice to ensure that each slice is thoroughly coated.
- Leave the tempeh to marinade for at least 3 hours, or all day.
Griddle or barbecue the tempeh for about 5 mins. on each side.
Serve with salad, or in a bun, or follow tradition, and eat with Rice and Beans.
Click image below for rice and beans recipe
Garnish with fresh Thyme and Parsley.