Tempeh - Pronouned tem-pey
Tempeh or tempe is a traditional food that come from Indonesia. Although it is used a meat substitute and source of protein for vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians in modern times, this soy product has been eaten for centuries. Tempeh, made from soy beans, does not look like tofu or taste like tofu, the texture is very different as well. This is great for recipes where tofu wouldn't work so well.
How Is Tempeh Made?
Tempeh is made by fermenting whole soybeans with a special fungus. The beans are then pressed into a cake form which can be cooked in many different ways. Like tofu, tempeh is high in protein but because of the fermentation process the nutritional content on the two are different. Tofu is rich in nutrients, particularly minerals. Tempeh also provides substantial vitamins and minerals, such as riboflavin and calcium, however, the fermentation of tempeh may boost digestive health by helping to balance gut microbiota.
What does Tempeh Taste Like?
Tempeh, unlike tofu, has its own flavour, the taste is earthy and nutty and it has a firm texture. This more solid texture make tempeh good for slicing before being baked, fried or even toasted. When tempeh is made the entire bean is used, this means that tempeh is higher in protein, vitamins and fibre than tofu.
Tempeh contains 193 calories per 100g, nearly 20g of protein, 11g of fat as well as potatssium, calcium, iron and magnesium. Tempeh must be cooked before being eaten and is ideal for eating with sauces such as barbecue sauce. Being incredibly versatile, it is great with rice, potato (including chips) and noodles.
Can You Make Tempeh Yourself?
Yes, you can, but it's not easy, it makes more sense to buy it from the supermarket. When making your own tempeh you can add different beans and grains to change the flavour to suit you. Tempeh is traditionally made with soybeans but you make it with any type of bean you like, such as black beans, black-eyed peas, kidney beans or chickpeas. You can also use grains such as brown rice, barley, or millet and seeds like sesame, flax, or sunflower can also be added to change the flavour. To make your own tempeh you will need the fungus that is involved in the fermentation, this is called a starter, you will also need to keep the tempeh at a set temperature for the fermentation to take place. This can be done with a lightbulb, heating pad or an incubator, but it's not the easiest of things to do. If you get your tempeh right it could be delicious, but I still recommend going to the shops.