Sunday, March 29, 2009

Maple Garlic Tempeh Balls

Spring is slowly coming to the North which means it is maple syrup time! Of course, we had to pack up the kids and head out to the local sugar shack. We hiked through the forest, checked out the 70 kms of piping bringing sap to the shack, made maple syrup taffy, bought maple sugar candy, and loaded up on syrup. There is nothing like breathing in the sweet air of the sugar shack while being surrounded by dozens and dozens of bottles of syrup. We left on a serious sugar high. Tonight's recipe is a take on honey garlic meatballs. Some recent comments on my tempeh meatballs made me rethink the recipe to make them a bit firmer.

Makes 25 tempeh balls
- 1 8.5 oz pkgs tempeh
- water
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp Montreal Steak Spice
- 1 small onion, coarsely grated
- 1 garlic clove, finely grated
- 1/3 cup instant oatmeal
- 1/3 cup vital wheat gluten
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp instant tapioca
- 1 tsp ground fennel seed
- 1 tsp sage
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp parsley
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp HP sauce, or BBQ sauce

- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- dash of hot sauce
- salt to taste
- 1 tbsp cornstarch

- 2 green onions, finely chopped

1. Cut tempeh into 4 pieces and place in a sauce pan. Add enough water to cover the tempeh, along with the soy sauce, salt, and steak spice. Bring to bubbling then simmer for 10 mins. Remove from water and let cool.
2. Grate tempeh and mix with onion, garlic, and the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well with your fingers and knead for 1 min.
3. With wet hands, form into 25 balls. Let rest for 5 mins to firm up.
4. Heat a thin layer of oil in a non-stick frying pan over med-lo heat. Add meatballs and cook for 15 mins, turning regularly, until browned all over. Remove from pan.
5. Whisk together sauce ingredient and add to pan. Bring to bubbling and simmer for 5 mins, letting sauce thicken and garlic cook. Add meatballs and turn to coat. Cook for a few mins more to heat through. Right before serving, sprinkle with green onion.

Sap on its way to the sugar shack.


nora said...

holy wowza those look delicious! they look like they could give the vcon bean balls a run for their money!

Ricki said...

I'm sort of on a maple kick lately, so these would be perfect! Is there anything I can use instead of the wheat gluten?

DJ Karma said...

I've been promising myself to finally give tempeh another try... these look delicious!

Joelie said...

COOL!!! I'm serious continent envy right now, holed up in France. Thank goodness I smuggled my own Canadian maple syrup stash in with me, eh?

Macie said...

That's so neat! I wish we lived somewhere that did maple syrup. Sounds like a fun day :)

renee.jones said...

Can I leave out the gluten or substitute something else? I am gluten-intolerant.

shelby said...

Mmm, these sound great! I think this would be a good way to start eating tempeh too. said...

why do i suddenly feel bad for the trees?

Virginia said...

oh wow, those look SO SO good...i am definitely making these as soon as i buy some more tempeh!

Tami (Vegan Appetite) said...

These look amazing. Maple always adds so much to food. Yum!

Lizzzzzzzzz said...

I love this recipe, but I'm not sure exactly how to go about it. How do you grate tempeh?

Bianca said...

The Sugar Shack sounds like some kind of awesome nightclub/lounge...but I think a House O' Maple Syrup sounds amazing! I'm sorta jealous that stuff doesn't grow on trees in Memphis.

HelloVeggie said...

Sounds so tasty and wonderful!

dreaminitvegan said...

Those Maple Tempeh Balls look so delicious! How much fun to make taffy too. I bet the kids had a blast. Growing up my best friend who lived next door to us, when her mom would go visit family in Canada, she would always bring back a big block of maple sugar and set it out on the counter for us to snack on until it was gone. It would usually last a week or so with everyone digging into it. Oh memories!

Laci said...

Beautiful snow pics!
Maple and Garlic and "meat" balls? Cool! :)

bohemiangirlpdx said...

This is my favorite tempeh recipe yet. We loved the sweet/savory combination. The maple syrup added a wonderful richness.

We didn't add any extra salt, just what was in the Montreal Steak Seasoning. The double-black soy sauce provided enough salt otherwise.

We also found it was easier to microwave the sauce in a large Pyrex measuring cup and then add it to the tempeh balls. That way we didn't have to saute the tempeh balls, remove the tempeh balls from the skillet, cook the sauce in the skillet, and then return the tempeh balls.

All in all, an absolute, unqualified hit! Definitely will make this again.

suzanne said...

What is Montreal Steak spice???? Can you give us an alternative that might be easier to find?

I tried your tempeh balls before, I think the Swedish ones and found that the middle doesn't cook, so I am looking forward to trying these.


Ivy said...

Looks fantastic, but what is Montreal Steak Spice? Do you know of a substitute for it? Thanks.

spring snow said...

I remember sugar shacks from my days in Montreal! They were great except the only part of the meal that I wanted to eat was the maple syrup.

avegancalledbacon said...

Just tried the meatballs. A great recipe, thanks. I used ordinary porridge oats and it was pleasantly grainy. I'm not sure the simmering/marinade step made much difference to the flavour... I wonder if the tempeh we get here is softer than yours as there was no way it was grateable - it turned extremely crumbly when boiled.

J'Hab@lavidaveggie said...

This sounds remarkably delicious, sort of like a cocktail snack my mom used to make when I was young. I love maple for its mapleness - that woodsy, almost smoky tone - not just for its sweetness. Forgive the dumb Yankee comment but, gosh that's a lot of late-March snow on the ground! When do you expect to see green in Ontario?

Vegan Dad said...

I hope I am addressing everyone's questions here:
1. Not sure about a gluten substitute--it hekps hold evrything together. Perhaps some extra cornstarch, or breadcrumbs to hold everything together. I think the balls will end of being more delicate, but still tasty.

2. Montreal Steak Spice is a pre-mix sold by McCormick's--usually used to season steaks (what?). It's not neccessary, but a nice touch.

3. Simmering and grating: I grate the tempeh with a cheese grater. I boil it first because it takes away some of the unique taste tempeh has (and which my kids don't really care for). Simmering the balls in the sauce helps firm them up a hit, and gives the balls a nice coating of sauce.

4. Snow: We are getting rain now and the snow is receding. There is still a good foot in the backyard, but I think it will all be gone soon.

Urban Environmentalist said...

What type of vital wheat gluten do you use? I find the one I am using is giving things a funny taste and makes everything taste the same

Vegan Dad said...

I get my gluten from the local bulk food store . . . so I'm not sure what brand it is.

Amanda (Fun Side of Veganism) said...

mmmm these look like veganized takoyaki (japanese fried balls made out of octopus), which I used to love in Japan. I wonder what could be added for that octopus-type flavor? Maybe nothing, maybe it's all about the sauce toppings!

Thanks for this! Consider it bookmarked!

jrsimon56 said...

That food is fantastic! I've gotta try those.

Bulie said...

I made these and they completely fell apart :(

Vegan Dad said...

Oh, boo! Try adding breadcrumbs, or something that will help them stick more. Also, make sure you fry them long enough so they firm up.

Bulie said...

they stuck together and were so good fried up but 1) they soaked up SO much oil 2) as soon as I put them in sauce they disintegrated.

jeannie said...

I made these for a vegetarian engagement party, and they were a HUGE hit! Absolutely delicious. I added a little extra gluten to give them a meatier texture, and I only cooked them in the pan about 5 minutes to brown the outsides, and then baked at 350 for about 15 to firm them up a bit more. They held up to the sauce perfectly and even stood up to toothpicks for serving. Thank you!!!