The New Year is associated with many specific traditions, such as the midnight countdown, making personal resolutions, quaffing celebratory champagne and sharing a kiss as the clock strikes twelve. However, there are also many interesting culinary traditions associated with a new year as well. For example, mandarins are considered especially fortuitous; for a vegetarian twist on a classic Chinese dish, try making this Mandarin Glazed Tempeh this New Year!
In a literal interpretation for good luck, the popularity of mandarins during New Year is largely due to the similarity of the words “mandarin” and “luck” or “fortune” in Chinese. In addition to this wordplay, mandarins are lucky due to their health benefits as well. They provide plenty of vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants, and research has shown the consumption of this fruit can reduce cholesterol and the risk of certain cancers.
Often confused with tangerines, mandarins are in fact an umbrella title of citrus; in other words, all tangerines are mandarins, yet mandarins refer to many kinds of citrus fruit, including satsumas, clementines and more. Therefore, feel free to take liberties with this Mandarin Glazed Tempeh recipe and what is currently available at your grocery store.
Try this vegetarian Mandarin Glazed Tempeh in place of orange chicken at your New Year’s table, and start the year with good luck, good karma and good food!
- 2 mandarins, juiced and zested
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 block tempeh, cubed
- 1 1/2 cups panko crumbs
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 tbsp of water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- Vegetable oil
Begin by setting up an assembly line of three wide-brimmed, shallow bowls. Fill the first bowl with flour, the next bowl with the egg wash, and the final bowl with a mixture of the panko crumbs, salt and pepper.
Send the tempeh cubes down the assembly line: roll them in flour, dip them in the egg wash, and finally coat them with the panko mixture. Next, fill a medium saucepan with a few inches of vegetable oil over medium heat. Carefully drop the breaded tempeh into the heated oil, turning them as needed until cubes have evenly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon onto a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil.
As the tempeh cubes cool, combine the mandarin juice, mandarin zest, soy sauce, rice vinegar, water, brown sugar, ginger paste and garlic powder in a saute pan over medium heat. Stir until the brown sugar has dissolved.
Next, add the breaded tempeh cubes to the saute pan. Stir to coat the cubes with the mandarin sauce. Simmer for ten minutes or until the sauce has been mostly absorbed.