Growing up in the Marshall Islands, our family made frequent visits to Honolulu– a short winter vacation and a brief visit on the way back to the US mainland in the summer. One of my absolute favorite things about Honolulu was going to the Chinese and Japanese restaurants.
I also got to go to the T&C Surf and Skate shop at the Ala Moana mall to get new t-shirts, shoes, and skateboard stuff, but that’s another story.
I’ve always loved Japanese food and teriyaki dishes are near the top of the list. When I became a vegetarian in the early 1990s I experimented a lot with tempeh and figured out that marinating is really the way to go. However, it took me years to create a homemade marinade and sauce that really hit the spot.
If you’re not familiar with cooking with citrus zest, like orange or lemon zest, I urge you to try it with this dish. The grated orange peel really transforms the sauce into something magically authentic. It took me years of being doubtful and lazy before I started experimenting with zest in my cooking. I wish I’d started sooner! Recently, I got a fancy Microplane – it’s perfect for the job. Now I jump at the chance to add zest flavor to dishes and have gotten more adventurous.
This Orange Tempeh Teriyaki recipe brings back some of the flavors of my childhood and consistently makes a delicious, beautiful meal. Don’t forget your chopsticks!
Orange Tempeh Teriyaki
serves 3-4 / time: 60 min.
400g / 14oz tempeh cut into small cubes or strips
1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 Tbs orange zest
3 Tbs sugar
1 tbs ginger finely diced (approx. 1 in / 2.5 cm piece)
2 cloves garlic finely diced
2 shallots or 1 small red onion finely diced
1/2 tspn black pepper ground
1/2 tspn red pepper flakes or 1 red chili seeded, finely diced
2 Tbs oil
2 cups broccoli cut into medium florets
1 cup carrots chopped (approx. 1 large carrot)
1/4 cup water
2 tspn sesame oil
1/4 cup water + 1 Tbs cornstarch or flour
2 Tbs sesame seeds lightly toasted
- Mix ingredients for the marinade and toss with tempeh cubes in medium sauce pan. Marinate (unheated!) for 15 min, turn pieces and marinate for another 15 min.
- Bring marinade + tempeh to low simmer covered and cook for 10 min. Turn pieces over, continue to simmer on low to reduce liquid, about another 10 min. Increase heat to medium, continue to stir and cook 2-5 min. Turn off heat, cover.
- Toss broccoli, carrots, 1/4 cup water, 2 tspn sesame oil in a large pot on medium high. Cook partially covered, stirring often until vegetables start to soften, about 5-6 min.
- Add tempeh and remaining marinade to vegetables. Continue to cook, stirring regularly.
- Whisk cornstarch into 1/4 cup water and add slowly to veg + tempeh.
- Continue to cook on medium high until remaining sauce has thickened and vegetables are cooked.
- Garnish with toasted sesame seeds. Serve with jasmine, basmati or sushi rice.