What is tempeh?
Tempeh is a soyfood made by controlled fermentation of cooked soybeans with a Rhizopus molds (=tempeh starter). This fermentation binds the soybeans into a compact white cake. Tempeh has been a favorite food and staple source of protein in Indonesia for several hundred years. But it is now rapidly becoming popular all over the world as people look for ways to increase their intake of soy, known for its health benefits. They discover tempeh's versatility and delicious taste. Especially vegetarians and vegans find the structure and protein content interesting. Tempeh has a firm texture and a nutty mushroom flavour. It is very versatile and can be used in recipes in different ways. Normally tempeh is sliced or cut in cubes and fried until the surface is crisp and golden brown. You can also grate it like cheese. Tempeh can be used as ingredient in soups, spreads, salads and sandwiches. Tempeh is now commonly available in many supermarkets as well as in Asian markets and health food stores.
Make your own tempeh!
It's easy to make tempeh at home: dehulled soybeans are soaked overnight, cooked for about 30 min and mixed with tempeh starter
(this contains spores of Rhizopus oligosporus or Rhizopus oryzae). After 36 to 48 hours incubation you have delicious fresh tempeh. And you will save a lot of money: homemade tempeh is about 5 times cheaper than store bought tempeh.
Tempeh is healthy!
Tempeh is very nutritive and contains many health promoting phytochemicals such as isoflavones and saponins. Tempeh fermentation produces natural antibiotic agents but leaves the desirable soy isoflavones and most of the saponins intact. Tempeh is a complete protein food that contains all the essential amino acids. Isoflavones have many health benefits: they strengthen our bones, help to ease menopausal symptoms, reduce risk of coronary hearth disease and some cancers. Tempeh has all the fiber of the soybeans and gains some digestive benefits from the enzymes formed during the fermentation process.