I had some coworkers that have never liked the flavor of tempeh. As soon as I heard this, I was determined to make my version for them and show them how good it could be. I first created this recipe about 10 years ago when I was working for many vegetarian clients. I have revised the recipe a little but am happy to say that it still stands up as one of my favorite vegetarian dishes. I was a vegetarian for about 7 years back in my 20’s and I still like to eat tempeh and tofu occasionally now. I now use this teriyaki style marinade for beef too.
The key to really good tempeh is all in the marinade. Frying the tempeh first creates a crunchier texture plus adds some fat, and then the marinade gives it a rich deep flavor. Make extra of the marinade and save it in the refrigerator for quick meal prep later, or use it to marinate beef for a stir fry.
Serve this over a bed of rice with a Cabbage Salad and my Creamy Carrot Ginger Soup. Having a barbecue? Make the skewers up to 2 days ahead of time and then put them on the grill for about 5 minutes to reheat.
Asian Style Tempeh Kabobs
- ¼ cup San-J tamari (gluten-free, organic and low sodium is best)
- ¼ cup coconut aminos
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup or rice syrup
- 1 teaspoon ginger juice, or small piece of ginger peeled and grated
- 1 tablespoon garlic (2–3 cloves in a garlic press or minced)
- 1 package tempeh
- 3 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
- 6 6-inch skewers
- Sliced green onion or chopped cilantro for garnish!
- In a small bowl, mix tamari, coconut aminos, vinegar, maple syrup, ginger juice, and garlic until maple syrup has dissolved. Set aside.
- Cut tempeh into 1-inch cubes. Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat. Add tempeh and cook until browned on each side, about 2 minutes per side, turning over with tongs.
- Pour marinade into a frying pan, lower heat and simmer, about 8 to 10 minutes, turning tempeh occasionally so that they soak up the marinade evenly. (The marinade will thicken as it simmers).
- Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes until cool enough to handle. Place tempeh cubes onto skewers, 4 to 5 cubes on each, and place on serving dish. Drizzle remaining liquid from the pan over the skewers and serve.
- Add 2 teaspoons chopped lemongrass to marinade for a Thai influence
- Add ¼ cup pineapple or orange juice to marinade along with ½ tsp lemon zest
- For a richer bacon-like flavor add a little Worcestershire sauce and smoky paprika powder
- Will stay in the refrigerator for 1 ½ weeks
- Reheat: Place skewers in a medium frying pan with a little oil over medium heat turning once until evenly heated through, about 5 minutes. If tempeh is too dry, sprinkle with some tamari or soy sauce.
Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!
I just tried this recipe. SO good. Thank you so much. I was in search of a good marinade. 🙂 Love your blog!
Thanks Amber! Glad you enjoyed it. This is a time tested favorite. I always make my tempeh this way. I been playing around with adding different spices to change it up.
Made this last night it was so good that I woke up feeling sad today knowing that I did not have any leftovers to have today….grrr. I add the tempeh to a pot of boiling water and simmered it for 15 minutes, let it cool then followed the recipe. I made 2 changes I reduced the ginger to 1/4 teaspoon but 1/2 half a teaspoon might be good too. Recipe called for 1 teaspoon of ginger but I thought that would over power the recipe. I also cut the cubes in half and made them even smaller so they would absorb more of the marinade. I served the tempeh on rice (did not bother putting on skewers) with some sweet n spicy asparagus and garnished it with thinly sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds.
The reason you should steam or boil pre-packaged tempeh before using it is it helps to remove some of its slightly bitter flavor. Secondly, it helps to soften and moisten it. And finally, cooking it first relaxes the tempeh so it accepts more of the flavors you mix it with, especially when marinating.