Treat Yourself to Tempeh

Original Image by Gloria Cabada-Leman via Flickr
Original Image by Gloria Cabada-Leman via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

Looking to expand your food palate? Have you tried tempeh (tehm-pay)? While tempehhas been used as a source of protein in Indonesia for hundreds of years, it is now reaching buzz in other parts of the world. Similar to its cousin, tofu, tempeh is a meat alternative that is commonly consumed by vegetarians.  Like tofu, tempehis made from soybean through natural culturing and fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form.  With retention of the whole bean, tempeh has a higher fiber, protein and vitamin content than tofu.  Fermented cooked soy product that is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form.

Original Image by Alpha via Flickr
Original Image by Alpha via Flickr

With it’s soy derivates, tempeh has a surprisingly versatile, delicious taste, providing vegans and vegetarians who are looking for additional protein sources means for new  experiments in the kitchen.  Specifically, with its firm texture and nutty mushroom flavor, it is traditionally sliced or cubed to be fried until surface is crisp or golden brown.  For a different take, tempeh can be grated like cheese or in soups, spreads, salads and/or sandwiches.

Due to its popularization, many local grocery stores carry tempeh and/or can be found in Asian supermarkets.  If you’re up to the challenge:

  1. Dehull soybeans and soak overnight, you can make your own tempeh!
  2. Once soaked, cook for approximately 30 minutes and mix with tempeh starter, which has spores or Rhizopus oryzae.
  3. It will be good to be used for eating and cooking after 36-48 hours of incubation.

You don’t have to be a vegetarian or vegan to enjoy tempeh.  With its phytochemicals,isoflavones andsaponins, it is becoming a more popular ingredient for all foodies.Isoflavones alleviate menopausal symptoms, strengthen bones and help reduce risk of coronary heart disease and some cancers.  Saponins are glycosides with foaming properties and can also be found in peas and herbs. During the fermentation process, tempeh obtains some digestive enzymes and reduces the phytic acid in soy, allowing the body to best absorb the soy’s minerals. Furthermore, as a complete protein, containing all nine amino acids.

I’m definitely adding tempeh to my grocery list! Looking forward to trying Tempeh Coconut Curry and Ginger Cilantro Honey Tempeh Salad! Why don’t you try with me?

Photo Credit:Wikipedia and Flickr



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