Shichimi togarashi tempeh burger with sea weed - dream in Japanese
I've enjoyed a lots of cosy comfort foods lately - pumpkin, lentils, cumin and cinnamon - in various creations, and it's been great. I enjoyed fall so far. But now it's time for a little contrast, to keep things interesting. I can't think of a better counter act to all those warming comfort foods than a freshly flavored japan-inspired burger.
My newly chosen inspiration comes in form of a spice - shichimi togarashi, directly translated as "seven flavor chile pepper"), I've been using it with mayo, on avocado, eggs, in salads and sauces for a while - and I'm in love! One of the most popular table spices in Japan, Shichimi togarashi is generously used over noodles rice, meats and soups in it's home country. It gives off lovely tangy notes from dried citrus peel and ginger, adding extra interest with nori, sesame and hemps seeds, together with the roughly ground chili, it forms a beautiful group of flavors.
While planning this dish, my mind was like a virtual Pinterest board - thinking about various Japanese dishes I've eaten and visual iconic images such as the neon lit streets of Tokyo in "Lost in translation", the magical creature Totoro, and Hokusai's waves, - especially this last reference made a beautiful link with my intended use of culinary sea weed.
Aquatic plants are dubbed the superhero's of our future food. Sustainable and rich in omega 3 - it's considered to be one of the solutions in restoring the worlds marine ecology, in our suffering over fished seas. Cooking Japanese is a great way to get into the habit of eating more sea weed. The plants of the sea makes an excellent substitute for fish with it's omega 3 richness. Many coastal asian kitchens is using culinary sea weeds for more than thousand years, so there's plenty of foodie inspiration to find in these regions.
I'm using the sea weed "dulse" here - which has neutral and delicate taste. High in vitamins especially vitamin B. It's also been nicknamed "the kale of the sea".
Variation is both healthy and fun when it comes to food: This burger is a mix of über fresh flavors, with distinct japanese charachter. A tempeh steak marinated in shichimi togarashi, ginger and tamari. Wonderful sweet cream of carrot and miso. Invigorating wasabi mayo, and your "bacon", sorry I meant the sweet potato crisps, on a bed of fresh salad and smooth avocado. It's a real pleasure this burger and If you like alternative burgers, you'll love this one.
This burger is perfect for lunch! And if you have leftovers or make a double batch of everything but the bread, you can mix it all up with a bowl of rice for dinner. Both the carrot miso cream and the wasabi mayo is tasty with a variety of savory dishes, try it on breads and in pastas or with veggies, it's really delicious stuff!
GROCERY SHOPPING TIPS:
Hard time finding shichimi togarashi? You can make the spice mix easily yourself, here's a link to a recipe, you can also substitute with chinese sichuan pepper or regular ground red chili.
The dulse sea weed. Buy it in organic in health food stores. If it's not available, try another neutrally flavored sea weed.
The tempeh, get it in your organic or health food store or asian supermarket.
Umeboshi seasoning, used in the marinade, is a popular traditional sauce made from fermented plums. You'll find it in asian stores, along with rice vinegar and miso paste.
Making it vegan: choose vegan mayo and bread.
A note on tempeh, this super healthy Indonesian food is made of fermented soy beans, it's healthier than tofu, due to the reduction of naturally occurring toxins in soy beans through the fermentation process. Tempeh has a great texture and is top to use for veggie burgers and patties. It's best marinated since it's more a of texture food and it's flavor is very mild.
Here's how to:
Shichimi togarashi tempeh burger with sea weed
serves 4, for a smaller meal and 2 for a main
4 bread buns of choice
400 gr Tempeh
2 tbsp shishimi togarashi
1 tbsp umeboshi
3 tbsp seame oil or olive oil
1 ½ tbsp misopaste
2 tbsp honey
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp rice vinegar for sushi
1 tsp tamari
1tspfreshly grated ginger
2 glasses warm water, and extra water if needed
1avocado in slices
Fresh green leaves
A handful dulse, rinsed and washed
1 tsp of wasabi paste
1 cup of mayo (swop for vegan choice if that's your preference)
Carrot miso cream
A handful of freshly grated carrots
1 ½ tbsp miso paste (dark)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
Optional: 1 tsp fresh ginger
Sweet potato crisps
1 sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced:
1. Preheat the oven to 180 ℃
2. Mix all the marinade ingredients except the water, only use few spoons of warm water to dilute to the misopaste, set aside. Cut the tempeh in to a little less than 1 cm thick square burgers shapes. Lay in a shallow bowl and pour the marinade mix over, make sure it coats the tempeh well and leave for 10 minutes to marinate. Add warm water to the marinated tempeh so that its covered and leave to marinate for at minimum 20 minutes (or up to 24 hours in the fridge).
3. Lay the the sweet potato slices on an papered oven tray and bake in 180 ℃ for 15 minutes, or more until crisp, remove and let cool before assembly.
4. Mix the carrot miso cream in a bowl and set aside until serving.
5. Fry your marianted tempeh pieces on medium heat for a few minutes on each side until golden.
6. Heat up the bread in the oven for a few minutes, first moisting the crust with a little bit of water, if you like your bun little bit warm for serving. Not necessary with fresh bread of course.
7. Asssemble the burger, by layering. Half the bread buns and build on the base half. Start with the wasabi mayo followed by green leaves, lay the tempeh on top, followed by the carrot miso cream. Next up is the rinsed dulse, squeeze out residue liquid before adding. Top with avocado slices and the sweet potato crisps. Enjoy!