Friday, July 13, 2012

Curried Tempeh Grilled Cheese with Mango Chutney

As I’m winding down my chaplain residency at the end of August, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on everything I learned this past year. It’s been an incredible year of growth for me personally, spiritually, emotionally, and in my ministry. I found my “ministry legs” this year and embraced my gifts alongside with my areas for growth. I listened and cried and stayed when it would’ve been more comfortable to leave. I prayed. God, how I prayed. For peace and strength, for miracles that never came, for hope and forgiveness. I prayed with families who had lost a child to a God who knows what it’s like to lose a child. I gave and received hugs, squeezes of the hand, a hand on the shoulder. I celebrated successful heart and brain surgeries with families, and I watched as families left the hospital with all of their child’s belongings but not the child herself. I channeled anger into hard runs and spin class. There were so many wonderfully sacred and profound moments that I can’t possibly recount them all.

I also learned some more practical things, like to always have a snack in my purse, especially during on-call weekends because it’s really hard to be present with a family when your stomach is growling. I accumulated multiple bottles of hand sanitizer that I use often. And without an office to call my own, I learned the art of living out of my car. Book of Common Prayer, lunch box, gym bag, water bottle, and vestments can usually be found. And if you’re on-the-go and need something quick and preferably meat-less to eat but you forgot that snack in your purse? Sonic makes a mean grilled cheese, especially if you add tomato.

This grilled cheese is a little different from Sonic’s but still easy to make. Curry-marinated sliced tempeh, provolone cheese, and mango chutney on a hearty bread satisfies the part of me that needs something that tastes a little more gourmet than a Sonic grilled cheese. Sweet and spicy and salty, it’s just as comforting as the original but with an ethnic twist.


Curried Tempeh Grilled Cheese with Mango Chutney
source: Veggie Belly
Makes 2 sandwiches

For the curried tempeh

Half an 8 oz package of tempeh
¼-½ teaspoon curry powder, to taste
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon oil

For the sandwich
4 slices of bread (I used Ezekiel sprouted grain bread)
1 tablespoon or to taste sweet mango chutney
4 slices of provolone or mozzarella cheese
Handful of fresh arugula or baby spinach leaves or kale leaves, torn (or tomato)
1 teaspoon butter


For the curried tempeh
1.Slice the tempeh lengthwise into ¼ inch thin pieces. You will need 6-8 slices
2.Whisk together the curry powder, soy sauce and water in a bowl. Add tempeh to the bowl and gently toss so the marinade is coated well on the tempeh.
3.Cover and marinate the tempeh in the fridge for 30 minutes and up to 2 days.
4. Heat oil in a medium skillet and add the marinated tempeh. Also add any remaining marinating liquid. Cook on medium heat, flipping the tempeh occasionally, till all the liquid has boiled away and the tempeh is brown on both sides.
Now proceed with making the grilled cheese.

For the grilled cheese
1.Use a small cast iron skillet or a garden brick as the weight for the grilled cheese. Cover the cast iron skillet or bricks with aluminum foil
2. Take 2 slices of bread and slather mango chutney on both the bread slices
3. Place one slice of cheese on top of the mango chutney. Top it with 3-4 slices of curried tempeh and 6-8 leaves of arugula or baby spinach or kale or the tomato.
4. Cover with another slice of cheese, and the other slice of bread, chutney side down
5. Heat ¼ teaspoon butter in a non stick skillet on medium heat. Place the sandwich on the skillet
6. Put the foil covered weight (cast iron skillet or brick) on top of the sandwich. Make sure it is balanced sitting on the sandwich. Let the sandwich with the weight on top cook on medium heat  till the bottom side is golden, about 2 minutes
7. Then remove the grilled cheese sandwich using a wide spatula, add 1/4th teaspoon more butter to the pan. Flip the sandwich over and cook the other side, with the weight on top, till it is golden.