This Korean BBQ inspired tempeh is the perfect meatless main, with crispy pan fried tempeh crumbles and a sweet and sticky homemade BBQ sauce. Served over warm rice with a fresh citrus salad for an easy, flavor packed meal in under 30 minutes.
How to Make Korean BBQ Tempeh
For a while, I didn’t think I liked tempeh. I’ll admit, it is somewhat of an acquired taste all by itself—similar to tofu, but when prepared in the right way, it’s pretty delicious. This Korean BBQ tempeh is actually very addicting, with those perfect bite sized crumbles and sticky sweet sauce. So good.
The tempeh is simple to make. Just start by whisking together the ingredients for the BBQ sauce: soy sauce, ginger garlic, some tomato paste, a little brown sugar and a touch of toasted sesame oil. Also, a tablespoon of gochujang really brings this sauce to the next level. Gochujang is a Korean chili paste that’s commonly used in Korean BBQ. It can be found in most well stocked grocery stores or Asian markets.
Set the sauce aside then cut the tempeh into slices. Even though we’re eventually going to crumble it up and douse it in sauce, browning the slices beforehand introduces lots of delicious flavor. Heat some oil in a pan over medium high heat and fry the slices until they have a deep golden brown color on both sides. Reduce the heat and pour over the sauce, using the back of the spoon to break the tempeh into crumbles.
Continue heating the tempeh in the sauce until it becomes thick and slightly caramelized. Keep the heat down pretty low to make sure the sauce doesn’t burn.
What to Serve with Korean BBQ Tempeh
With all the strong flavors in the tempeh, a bright citrus salad is the perfect way to balance out the dish. I used a combination of naval and blood oranges, but feel free to use whatever combination of citrus you like. Pink grapefruit, tangerines, mandarins and cara cara oranges would all be delicious.
The rest of the salad is a blend of lime juice, scallions, cilantro, a little honey (or maple syrup) and salt. The salad can be made up to a day in advance and chilled in the fridge.
I like to serve my Korean BBQ tempeh over white short-grain rice,, (brown rice would also work) topped with citrus salad and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. If you’re looking to add some extra veggies to your plate, try some roasted broccoli, bell peppers or steamed green beans.
More Recipes to Try
- 20 minute gochujang gnocchi
- Black pepper noodles with honey roasted edamame
- Honey sesame chickpea lettuce wraps
- Simple sweet potato quesadillas