November 30, 2010

Spicy Tempeh Balls

Is there any one ingredient you've cooked with and thought it just wasn't at all what you had expected? Then it takes you ages to give it another go, all because of that one disappointing experience? Tempeh has been one of those ingredients for me. I tried cooking it once; I can't even remember what I was making, but it just wasn't right. Ever since then I've wanted to give it another chance, but it's taken me months to get back to it.

Since I've been cutting back on tofu, I thought tempeh is a less processed alternative, and so I bought a packet on my last visit to my local health food store. I am so glad this second attempt proved so much more successful and I will most definitely be cooking with tempeh again! It's actually a very useful ingredient, so I'm sure I won't be lost at recipe alternatives either!

Spicy Tempeh Balls

300g tempeh
1/2 brown onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 large free-range egg yolk
1 tbsp less salt soy sauce
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 large tbsp bread or rice crumbs
1 red chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped
1 tbsp shiro miso
1 tbsp mirin
freshly ground black pepper

1 carrot grated, to serve
1 tbsp black sesame seeds, toasted, to serve

Preheat oven to 180C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Sauté the onion and the garlic in a dash of water or olive oil until translucent. Place all ingredients in a bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Shape the dough into balls and place on a baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes turning the balls over half way. Serve with grated carrot and toasted black sesame seeds.




  1. They look divine. The carrot and nigella seeds are a nice accompaniment

  2. Oh really? Is tempeh a less processed alternative? Then I shd take more too!

  3. Maria, haven't you left for Japan yet? Still making delicious tempeh balls like these... Quite brilliant, I have never thought of processing tempeh like this. We usually just slice and fry them up :)

  4. I just might have to try this, I thought I would like tempeh too as I love tofu but it's the one soy product that I just can't eat, something about the texture, the fermented flavour that really puts me off eating it, never thought of mashing it up with nice flavours though!

  5. I'd love to try this. I'm always looking for another way to do Tempeh..can I leave out the hot peppers..?

  6. Geez, i grew up with tempeh here in Indonesia, and have never liked them as a kid. I think that's because they were never served like this! This looks very delicious and i think it might change my dislike for tempeh!

  7. I don't actually know what tempeh is but I'm sure gonna google it right after this :) love all your creative recipes!

  8. Great tempeh recipe! Love all the flavors in there!

  9. What an interesting way to use tempeh. :)
    For other ideas that make tempeh shine:

    This is the recipe where tempeh woo'ed me over:

    These are also very good:

  10. Made this tonight. It was great! Mine turned out looking like meatballs given that I made a few changes: I had two 227g packs of tempeh, so I took a bit from the second and used egg substitute. I replaced the pepper with red chili paste and because I didn't have mirin, I used a mix of savignon blanc with raw cane sugar.

    My first experience with tempeh was subpar but it got better with other recipes!


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