I like Marmite – only in certain applications. My favourite is with thickly spread vegan butter. This recipe was inspired by Eight Treasure’s Marmite Ribs, a dish my family had during Chinese New Year and everyone (even the omnis) loved it. And because Eight Treasures is so far from my place and I can’t digest mock meats well, I came up with this recipe. Also because I bought a huge jar of Marmite on impulse and needed to find ways to use it!
Marmite on it’s own, has a terrifying bitterness to my taste. Like their slogan “Love it or hate it”, I love it when used in dishes but hate it on it’s own. It’s got a unique concentrated umami flavour as a result of yeast fermentation that does not occur in other condiments. But the bitterness can be overwhelming when used too much, so I usually add sour and sweet flavours to cushion it. When used correctly, it gives the most lip-smacking savouriness to proteins with some tang and sweet aftertaste.
Tempeh can be found in Singapore at wet markets (at stalls selling mixed goods) or heartland supermarkets like Giant or NTUC (usually in refrigerated section near the tofu). This recipe has 4 main ingredients, is quick and easy to make and keeps well in fridge or freezer. Great protein item to make in advance for lunch boxes.
- 2 slices ginger, cut into thin matchsticks
- 1 block tempeh, cut to square pieces (I used the 200g block from NTUC).
- 2/3 tbsp Marmite (or Vegemite)
- 1 heaping tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp of Chinese cooking wine (or other cooking wines, optional)
- 1/3 cup stock/water
- 1 tbsp lemon/lime juice, or to taste
Mix Marmite, sugar, cooking wine, water in a bowl till Marmite is dissolved. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat, add ginger. Sautee till fragrant. Add tempeh and flip to coat evenly with oil. Lower heat to low-medium, pour liquid mixture in and mix to coat tempeh. Simmer till liquid is thickened and reduced, flipping halfway to ensure even cooking. Removed from heat, squeeze lemon/lime juice to taste and mix well before serving. Let cool before storing.
- I personally prefer to cut tempeh thin as I find it holds flavour better.
- Cooking wine helps to boost umami flavours in protein dishes, if you don’t have or don’t take alcohol, simply omit. Ginger here also has the same role.
- If you’re really averse to Marmite, use soy sauce/curry paste/tom yam paste or any strong flavoured condiment of your choice instead.
- This tempeh will be quite salty if you eat it on its own, as I made it to be a sandwich filler. Reduce Marmite amount or increase tempeh if you want less salt.
- I find cooked tempeh can dry out in the fridge, so I usually reheat it by frying lightly on both sides with a bit of liquid (oil or water).
Check out more tempeh recipes here.