For some reason I can’t yet figure out, my cats love tempeh. They could be sleeping on the farthest room from the kitchen but, as soon as I open the tempeh package, they come running and meowing like crazy. I always give them little bits of it, and they always give me back “the face”, meaning they want seconds. Maybe it’s tempeh’s yeast-y and nutty flavour that drives them mad. Anyway, I have hardly ever seen them being so enthusiastic about a particular food as they are about it (don’t get me started on the organic and expensive as hell wet food I once bought them, which they sniffed and walked away from).
Unlike the kitties, and through my years as a vegetarian/vegan, I never cared much for tempeh. Today, however, I’ve been cooking with it much more often. Through practice, I guess I’ve come up with some pretty good dishes that feature this fermented soy-based and, most of the time, underrated ingredient. The recipe for this patties is, out of the things I’ve made recently using tempeh, the one I like the most. They’re complex in flavour as well as in texture, with different spices thrown in for a bit of a spicy kick. A couple specifics: you really have to refrigerate them for at least two hours before cooking. It pays off, really: their consistency will improve and it’ll be easier to shape them. The chutney, on its side, won’t take you more than 5 minutes to make and it’s sweet and tangy character goes really well with the patties’ earthy flavours.
Chickpea and Tempeh Patties with Lemon Chutney
For The Patties:
- 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil 5 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in 1 cup warm water for at least 15 minutes
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, crushed in a mortar and pestle
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
- 3 tablespoons tomato puree/paste
- 1 ½ teaspoons harissa
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 145 g /1 cup frozen corn
- 250 gr tempeh, crumbled
- 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
For the lemon chutney:
- 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
- 210g /2 medium sized lemons
- 125 ml / ½ cup brown rice syrup
For the patties:
- In a pan over medium heat, addthe olive oil, onion and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion issoft. Add the mushrooms, crushed cumin seeds, paprika, turmeric and thyme,followed by ½ cup of the mushrooms soaking water. Give everything a good stirand add the tomato puree, harissa, salt, frozen corn and tempeh. Cook for, overa low-medium flame, for 8-10 minutes. Add the chickpeas to a large bowl andmash them with a potato masher. They will work as the “glue” that holds thepatties together, so they should be well mashed. Add the tempeh mixture to thechickpeas and stir everything together until you have a firm mixture. Taste tocheck the seasoning and add a bit more salt if needed. Refrigerate the burgersmixture for at least 2 hours. When you’re ready to cook them, add a generousdrizzle of olive oil to a frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, addthe burgers and let them cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until they’regolden brown. Serve with the lemon chutney on top.
- For the lemon chutney: In a small pan over medium heat, toast the mustard seeds for 1-2 minutes or until brownbut not burnt. Set aside. Using a y-shaped peeler or a small sharp knife,remove the lemons’ skin. Cut the skinless lemons into quarters and remove asmuch as the white part as you can (you only want the pulp). Remove any seeds aswell. Cut the lemons’ pulps into smaller pieces and their skins into very thinstrips. Add the lemons’ skin and pulp and the rice syrup to the pan with thetoasted mustard seeds. Cook for 5 minutes, uncovered and over medium heat, oruntil the liquid is reduced a bit (it will reduce even more after it’s cooled,so don’t overcook it). Serve with the burgers.