Ok, I admit it. I bought Veganomicon the day it came out and still haven’t tried one recipe in it yet. I bought it with the best intentions to try at least 3 or 4 recipes but it never happened, as is the case with most of the cookbooks that sit on my shelf now-a-days. I’ve been so wrapped up in working on my own books that I haven’t had much time to branch out and see what else is going on the world of vegan eats. When Isa posted the recipe for Chesapeake Tempeh Cakes from her new book Vegan Brunch I promised myself that I would leave my own little vegan culinary cocoon and branch out to try Isa’s latest venture.
True to form, I didn’t make the recipe exactly to the letter but it’s the closest I’ve ever been to the original recipe in a long time. My only change was to take down the panko bread crumbs by ½ cup and I double the roumelade because I like to have a good amount of sauce. I might take down the mustard or use Dijon mustard next time in the roumelade and I'm considering baking the cakes to next time as well, but otherwise I thought it was a perfect recipe.
Make ahead: Make the entire mixture and the remoulade the night before. In the morning, form into cakes and pan fry.
For the cakes:
8 ounces tempeh (I used three grain)
1 cup water
1 tablespoon soy sauce (I used Bragg's liquid aminos)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons Vegenaisse
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard (stone ground Dijon works, too)
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup very finely chopped red bell pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh black pepper
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs, plus extra for dredging (I used 1 cup)
Optional: 1 finely chopped nori sheet or 1 tablespoon kelp granules (if you like a little fishiness)
Oil for pan frying
For the remoulade:
2 tablespoons Vegenaise
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard (stone ground dijon works, too)
1 tablespoon hot sauce
2 teaspoons capers (try not to get too much brine)
Lemon wedges for serving
First we’re going to steam the tempeh to get the bitterness out and also to infuse some flavor with the soy sauce. Crumble the tempeh into a saucier or small pan in little bits. Add the water, soy sauce, oil and bay leaf. The tempeh won’t be fully submerged, but that’s fine. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, let boil for 12 to 15 minutes, until most of the water has evaporated. Stir once during boiling.
Transfer contents to a mixing bowl, remove bay leaf, and mash with a fork. Let cool for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to hasten the cooling process. Make sure the tempeh is barely warm before you proceed, or the cakes may fall apart when you cook them. Add the mayo, mustard, hot sauce, vinegar, chopped bell pepper, spices salt and pepper, and mix well. Add the bread crumbs and nori and use your hands to incorporate.
Once you are ready to form the cakes, preheat a thin layer of oil in a heavy bottomed non-stick skillet (cast iron is great) over medium heat. Pour a few tablespoons of panko into a bowl. Scoop a little less than 1/4 cup batter into your hands and form into a ball. Flatten between your palms and then roll the sides gently with your hands cupped to smooth them. You should have ten 2 1/2 to 3- inch patties. I do them in batches of five. Press them into the panko to lightly coat. They don’t need to be thoroughly covered, just a little bit for some texture.
Fry a batch of five cakes for 4 minutes on one side and flip when dark golden brown. Fry for 2 minutes on the other side and transfer to a paper towel or paper bag to drain. Do your second batch and in the meantime make your remoulade by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl.
Serve with lemon wedges.