I admit it. I don’t cook meat at home, but every now and then (say, twice a year or so) I crave smoky, peppery, crisp bacon… Be it on a sandwich, alongside a delicious omelet, or to counter-balance sweet Belgian waffles laden with pure maple syrup. Even better, on my Reggie Deluxe from Pine State Biscuits in Portland, OR… along with their amazing buttermilk fried chicken on a flaky buttery biscuit.
That note aside, I’ve been making the following fakin’ strips for a few months now. I am addicted. Its taken me a while to get accustomed to tempeh. It’s not my favorite soy-based product, but it’s quickly getting there the more I experiment with it.
Lightlife makes delicious smoky tempeh strips you can buy in the grocery store, but for close to $5/package, the nine strips I receive for my money are more pricey than I’d prefer. By doing it myself, I end up with nearly 24 strips every time, from a $2 – 3 slab of tempeh.
I started experimenting with different flavors, trying to mimic the smoky flavor of bacon, and these pre-made strips. I think the trick to this recipe is cutting the strips as thin as possible, without them falling apart. The marinade is versatile; you could soak tofu in it, or veggies prior to grilling, or seitan… I’ve yet to try those, but imagine they’d work equally as well. The strips are great on a (F)BLT (fakin’ bacon-lettuce-tomato) sandwich, on their own, in bean-type dishes, as a compliment to your breakfast (lunch, and dinner!).
Smoky Tempeh Fakin’ Strips
1½ cups water
¾ cups organic shoyu (or tamari)
approx. 2 Tbsp. roughly chopped fresh ginger (peeled)
2 tsp. chopped garlic
1 tsp. liquid smoke
1 tsp. vegetarian Worcestershire sauce (Annie’s Naturals makes a good one)
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 green onion stalks, diced
½ tsp. red chili pepper flakes
pinch of black pepper
1- 8 ounce slab of tempeh, cut into strips about 1/8” thick
1 tsp. olive oil
In a medium sized pot, combine all the ingredients except the tempeh strips and olive oil. Heat over high heat, until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes.
Place the tempeh strips in a dish deep enough to hold the marinade, while covering the strips. Pour the marinade over the tempeh strips, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour (the longer, the better, though!).
When ready to use, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Cook the strips until golden brown in color and crisp (about 3 or so minutes on each side).