Monday, October 24, 2011

Tempeh Buffalo Tenders

This should have been posted a week ago, but again more technical difficulties. My backup, not to mention NEW, compact flash card is crapping out on me. I've lost more photos than I'd like to think about, and time! It's really testing my patience, so I've ordered yet another flash card.

Let's talk about something fun and tasty. Buffalo wings! These are better for you and don't have any bones! Yay! These bad boys were served up as an appetizer for the Soul Food pop up dinner I had a couple weeks ago. They were so popular, I've made them three times since then, but only recently had a chance to photograph them properly. They are hard to photograph because they just kept disappearing! I don't know how!

Tempeh Buffalo Tenders

Preparing the tempeh

3-4 8oz packages of soy tempeh

Before doing anything with tempeh, I like to poach or simmer it in some kind of flavorful broth. Doing so makes the tempeh more tender and flaky, and also cuts out some of the funky flavor some might find off putting. I add a few spoons of No-Chicken Broth Powder mixed with 1-2 cups of water and a pinch of dried thyme into a medium pot and drop in the tempeh. Simmer tempeh for 10-15 minutes, remove from broth and set aside to cool.

When tempeh is cool enough to handle, slice into 1/2 inch thick strips or slightly thicker, if you desire. Set aside and get the batter started.

The Batter

5 tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened, non-dairy milk (I used soy)
2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs (Double check for veganocity. I used Kikkoman brand.)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
a few grinds of pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram


Set up your deep fryer or deep frying apparatus and get the temperature between 350 - 375 degrees F.

Bust out three shallow pans or plastic tupperware-like containers. Create your assembly line! Fill one with the non-dairy milk, another with panko crumbs, and the third with your flour and spices. Stir the flour and spice mixture and combine all the ingredients well. Take a piece of tempeh and lightly coat with your flour mixture. Shake off any excess, then dip into the soymilk and coat evenly. Finally coat the wet tempeh with panko crumbs.  Set your coated and ready to fry tempeh on a plate and continue coating the rest of your tempeh. Try using only one hand while you work. It helps to have one clean hand free. You will definitely end up with a panko crumb glove.

If you're feeling agile, gently drop in 3-4 pieces of coated tempeh into your deep fryer while you're working your coating assembly line. Just watch your tempeh. You want it golden brown and delicious, not burnt! Tempeh will fry up fast! It will probably be ready in 2 minutes or so, depending on your fryer temperature. Continue working in batches and place hot fried tempeh on a cooling rack with paper towels underneath. This method of cooling keeps things crunchy and crisp.

Coat tenders with buffalo sauce and serve with a side of vegan ranch dressing (recipes follow!)

Buffalo Sauce

1/4 cup melted Earth Balance or vegan margarine
5 or more tablespoons of Lousiana Hot Sauce (or your favorite hot wing style hot sauce)


Whisk ingredients well and drizzle over tempeh tenders just before serving. Recipe can be doubled with ease if you're making a particularly large batch.

Vegan Ranch Dressing

1 cup Follow Your Heart Vegenaise
2-3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
up to 1/4 cup unsweetened soy or non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped or 1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
few grinds of pepper
salt to taste (if desired)


Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Add soymilk to desired consistency. Taste and check for salt and acidity. Adjust lemon to taste. Serve chilled with fresh crudite and tempeh tenders.


  1. Ohmigosh -- these look amazing! I am OBSESSED with buffalo sauce right now (so bad, but sooooo good) and have been really, really craving vegan wings.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. This looks awesome! I trying to cook more tempeh - as I like that it's a fermented food. This looks good - and will take all the 'healthy' away from tempeh!

  3. These look amazing! And I really love your photography.

  4. Thanks every one! Deep frying definitely eliminates all healthiness from this dish, but we make up for that with lots of fresh, crunchy veggies on the side! Balance is key!

    This dish is more about the fun and experience of eating something all your other non-veg friends eat on a regular basis. It's a great party food. I served this to a few non-vegetarians at the pop up dinner and they were devoured! Fried foods are quite pleasing, haha.