I really love Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Chesapeake Tempeh Cakes from her cookbook, Vegan Brunch. The clever use of tempeh in these cakes yields a unique flakiness and texture—and these are perfect to enjoy during the summer months. I make these cakes on the regular during this season, and alway follow Isa’s recipe exactly, but today I decided I would experiment with different spices and flavors to see what would happen. These tasted fantastic and paired perfectly with some sriracha-Vegenaise dressing.
8 ounces three-grain tempeh
1/2 small red onion, minced
1 sheet of nori, pulverized into a powder, using a small coffee grinder
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp dill
1 TB sriracha
3 TB Vegenaise
2 TB capers
12 Ritz crackers, smashed (yes, they’re vegan!)
1 TB water whisked with 1/2 tsp Ener-G
1 tsp baking powder
chickpea flour, for dusting the cakes
oil for frying
equal parts Vegenaise and sriracha mixed together, for serving
First, break up the tempeh block into about 8 pieces. Place in a steamer basket with a bit of water, cover and steam for about 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and mash well with a strong fork.Add in the next ten ingredients, mixing well. Try making a small patty in your hand—if it molds easily into a patty, you’re all set. If not, try adding a few more crackers at a time until the mixture is firm enough to hold a patty shape. Cover and refrigerate for at least three hours.
When you are ready to prepare the cakes, form the mixture into little patties. Set aside.Fill a small saucepan with enough oil to submerge the cakes. Heat over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes.Test the oil’s readiness but dropping a pinch of the chickpea flour into it—if it bubbles up immediately, your ready to fry. Dust two cakes at a time with some of the chickpea flour and slowly slide them into the oil using a slotted heat-resistant spoon. Fry on each side for about 2 minutes and transfer to paper towels to cool and drain.
Serve with the sriracha-Vegenaise dressing. They even taste great cold as a breakfast the following day, dressing included!