Tempeh Sukiyaki

One of my favorite cookbooks growing up was Betty Crocker's International Cookbook.  I absolutely loved it.  I liked to plan themed meals out of it where every dish was from the same country.  It had lots of pictures and little blurbs about each dish.  When I moved away from home I made my mom copy a bunch of my favorite recipes and Sukiyaki was one of them.

I have a sort of informal ranking system of recipes based on a variety of attributes.  The foremost is flavor, obviously, but I also consider (in no particular order): ease to prepare, number of dishes that need to be washed after, number of unique/expensive ingredients, total time, perceived fanciness/difficulty and versatility.  Sukiyaki scores well in almost all the categories.  It is very tasty and easy, uses only one pan, and can be made with pretty much whatever vegetables you have lying around.  You are definitely going to want to slice up all your vegetables first, because once you start cooking it goes really quickly.

One thing I had not discovered when I first started making Sukiyaki is tempeh.  I am going to tell you what tempeh is if you don't already know, but don't make any hasty judgments.  This is one of my favorite foods.  It has a fabulous flavor and couldn't possibly be easy or more versatile.  Okay, now that I've extolled it's virtues I'll tell you that tempeh is fermented soybeans.  Tempeh originated in Indonesia and is, in my opinion, superior to tofu in flavor and texture.  It is a great substitute for beef in this dish.

One of the best parts is you get to cook it all in one big pan.  The vegetables cook in about 4 minutes.  You can put in pretty much whatever vegetables you want.  It is a perfect for using whatever fresh veggies I get in my CSA.  Here I used carrots, green onions, kale and sugar peas from my CSA and bamboo shoots and water chestnuts.  You could use spinach or cabbage, mushrooms, celery (although please don't, celery is possibly the worst vegetable ever).  And make sure you arrange all the veggies prettily on your plate.  That is really the most important part.  Enjoy!

Tempeh Sukiyaki

1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tbsps brown sugar
1 cup broth
1/4 cup mirin
1 block tempeh
1 can bamboo shoots
1 can water chestnuts
2 cups kale
4 carrots, sliced diagonally
1 cup sugar peas
3 green onions, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1 tbsp oil
1. Mix soy sauce, sugar, broth and mirin until sugar is disolved.
2. Heat oil in large skillet. Brown tempeh, about 3 minutes each side.
3. Push tempeh to one side and add vegetables.
4. Add broth and cover. Cook covered 2 minutes.
5. Turn vegetables and cook uncovered an additional 2 minutes.
6. Service with rice or noodles.
Adapted from my memory of Betty Crocker's International Cookbook

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