It is a half-truth universally acknowledged that all vegans secretly crave bacon. Only a half-truth because, personally, I remember bacon always tasting extremely disappointing. It smelled so good, it tasted so... so-so.
My tempeh bacon recipe grew out of this one in the fabulous Vegan with a Vengeance, which you should buy. I've made a few changes over the years. Here's what I do:
1. In a fully sealable Tupperware-type box, fork together 4 Tbsp soya sauce, 1 Tbsp cider vinegar, 1 Tbsp tomato purée, 1 Tbsp sesame oil, 1/2 tsp liquid smoke*, a sprinkling garlic powder, a good slug hot sauce.
2. Crumble in your block of tempeh. Mix to coat, and leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer. Shake the box around occasionally to spread the flavours round. The fact that I crumble rather than slice the tempeh helps with this too.
3. Heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil in a frying pan. Tip your tempeh in, marinade and all. Fry, stirring often, on a medium heat until the tempeh bacon crumbles are darker and crispy bits appear.
Today I was nursing a hangover which I acquired at a gig on a pirate ship moored on the Seine. So of course I made TLTs.
Toasted bread, baby spinach, posh semi-dry tomatoes, and sauerkraut. I bloody love sauerkraut.
These smoky crumbles are great eaten other ways too - add them to a basic tomato pasta sauce, stuff them in a breakfast burrito with rice, salsa, and avocado, tip them straight into your mouth from the pan...
* I have kind American friends who return from trips to the US with liquid smoke for me. Maybe they sell it in the American food shops here. Not sure. I'm a lucky girl.