So, I set out to adapt this recently to make it vegan, and I have to say it's a winner with tempeh.
Philippine Tempeh Adobo
Adapted from Food Network Kitchens: Making it Easy.
1 block of tempeh
15 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
2 bay leaves
2 cups of water
1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
2 Tablespoons of soy sauce (or tamari to keep it GF)
1 Tablespoon of sugar (I'm sure honey or agave would be great)
3/4 t. black pepper
1/4 t. crushed red pepper (or more to taste)
1 Tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with 1 Tablespoon of water
Preheat a skillet as you prepare your tempeh. I do not steam my tempeh, but if you prefer to do so, go for it. I don't find it bitter and skip this step. I cut the block into thirds. Each third is then cut diagonally into two triangles and I stand those triangles on end to slice through to make two thinner triangle shaped pieces. So, from one block of tempeh, I get 12 triangles. You can cut it however appeals to you--I just like the thickness and shape when cut this way. Brown the tempeh on both sides.
Once the tempeh is browned, scatter the garlic and bay leaves around it and pour in the water, vinegar, soy sauce, and the seasonings. Simmer for 20-25 minutes. I used that time to make a batch of mashed potatoes to serve this on (four yukon gold potatoes cut in chunks, bring to a low boil for about ten minutes, drain, mash with 1/2 cup non-dairy milk, salt, pepper, and olive oil or other fat of your choice).
If your pan is simmering really hard, you may find that you want to add some water to it, just so you have some sauce to thicken at the end. Pour in the cornstarch slurry at the end and the sauce will get glossy and have a bit more body.
This would be great with smashed sweet potatoes instead of regular, with rice, quinoa, or even plantains.