Tempeh may seem a little vexing upon first introduction, but cooking it can be as simple as a quick pan fry. This list is loosely organized from least to most complicated. If y'all need any further tips, clarifications, questions or suggestions on anything at all, feel free to email me at keith@.com.
Here are a few of my favorite methods:
The Slice and Fry
Slice the tempeh 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Get a high-heat oil screaming hot, think grapeseed or avocado. Lay the strips away from yourself (please don't burn yourself!) into the oil and fry for 2-3 minutes per side.
Put in your favorite sandwich, taco, salad, soup or whatever you want a good amount of mycellicious (trademark) protein in.
The Toss and Sauce
Cube the tempeh into approximately 1/2 by 1/2 inch cubes, get the oil good an hot and toss it in. Let it sit until browned, toss it, repeat. All sides don't need to be browned, the steam from the browning outside will cook the inside nice and gentle. Throw on your favorite sauce, think General Tso or Buffalo, and toss it some more. Add to whatever you want.
The Crumble and Tumble
Same principle. Hot oil, hot pan, crumble the tempeh up between your fingers, toss it in, and keep it moving. My favorite way to serve it is over pasta.
The Tempeh Steak
Cut it in half right down the middle, leaving you with two solid 4 inch by 3 inch slabs. You can be a little gentler with the heat on this one after it hits the pan to get the middle nice and steamed. Throw that thing on a burger bun, sauce it and eat it whole, it's up to you!
The Crispy Crunchy
My personal favorite, very decadent. Cut it in the middle again. Prepare a 3-stage dredge: start with a flour or starch (think corn starch, rice flour or AP flour), then an egg or flax wash, then a final breading of panko or similar ingredient. If you are feeling extra crunchy you can repeat steps one and two before moving on to the third. Deep fry that sucker in 350 degree oil until golden brown or pan-fry (preferable in a cast-iron) in a healthy (or unhealthy depending on your perspective) amount of oil. Serve on a sandwich or wherever your heart desires.
Steam tempeh over a rolling boil for 10 minutes. Marinate for up to one hour but up to overnight in your favorite teriyaki, barbecue, salad dressing or whatever you find to be delicious! Pop it on the grill and get some of those cross-hatch marks on both sides and you're good to go.
The Last Air Fryer
Cut it up however you want, toss or drizzle lightly in oil, and cook it until it's crispy on the outside and still moist on the inside.
The Fully Baked
Slice into 1/4 inch strips and place in an oiled baking pan. Make a well balanced marinade, a little salty a little sweet and a touch tart. If you want that extra umami throw in some olive brine or minced olives (my favorite vegan umami), fish sauce, coconut aminos or the like. Pour the marinade over the tempeh. You want whatever sauce you're using to barely cover the slices. Move the tempeh around gently so both sides get coated sufficiently. Bake covered for 20-25 minutes, then remove the cover, bake for another 20-35 minutes until the sauce is reduced. At this point you can deglaze the pan with water, vinegar, wine or whatever suits your palate, and use that sauce to drizzle over the dish after plating. I also call this one: The Anniversary.