- tempeh ingredients, all of them.
- Want to make your own tempeh? Here’s my guide!
Here’s a secret: I don’t adore making it. It’s meditative and somewhat magical, but requires strength (pencil arms like mine are not ideally suited to seitan-making, alas) and time. Seitan making starts with high protein flour (well, mine does. You can start with gluten flour, which costs roughly five times more and is more processed. It makes very plasticky seitan in about three seconds. I am not a fan.) which you mix with water and mix until you’re scared your mixer is about to burn out. Then you cover that dough with water, refrigerate it overnight, and the next day you manually squeeze it until it forms meaty balls of gluten. You’re making a (somewhat) processed food, but the “processing” is done entirely with your own hands as you squeeze out all the starch from the flour until you’re left with only the protein. Seitan and its relatives (like nama fu, which is basically seitan made with some rice flour and is used in Japanese shojin ryori cuisine—if you’re in NYC, you can taste beautiful nama fu at my favorite restaurant in the universe, Kajitsu. Be sure to say hello from me to my favorite waiter, Jamie, and the lovely executive chef, Masato! Tell him next time I’m bringing him a new chocolate he’ll love!) were developed by and for Buddhist vegetarians centuries ago in Asia.
At this point you might be asking: what a lot of fuss! Why not just buy it? Well, it’s roughly six times more expensive to buy it, and a girl’s got to save her pennies for fancy NYC dinners out, you know? Also, I find that most prepared seitan is terribly plasticky. And, of course, mine is as fresh as possible. And…I secretly hope that all my seitan-squeezing is slowly (some might say: imperceptibly) giving me Michelle Obama arms.
More cooking photos to come…