All About Tempeh:
The Fermented Soybeans and Vegan's Superfood
Have you ever heard about tempeh?
Here in Japan, it is hard to know people who actually have eat tempeh in their life. Some of them even don't know about tempeh.
But, there are actually people who are curious about tempeh and they would like to try it someday.
In this article, we will tell you all about tempeh, and why is it really important for your health. Once you know about tempeh and its benefits, please try to consume it by all means!
What is Tempeh, The Another Form of Fermented Soybeans
Tempeh is a fermented soybean product that native to Central Java Province, Indonesia
Like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans. But tempeh is made by using the whole soybeans, so it has the complete or even greater nutrients from the soybean.
The nutrients contained are proteins, minerals, vitamin B, glucoses (energy), etc. Sometimes it is said that the amount of protein contained in soybeans is almost balanced with meat. Therefore, you can complete your daily nutrients intake by consuming tempeh.
(Left picture: tempeh wrapped with plastic; right picture: tempeh wrapped with banana leaf)
We all know that tempeh is using plastic to wrap it. But some tempeh in Indonesia is using banana leaves to wrap the tempeh.
Tempeh using banana leaves is said to be more tasteful because the leaves are transferring good aroma to the tempeh. With a note that the leaves used must be clean and fresh leaves.
But the plastic-wrapped tempeh is still delicious and more hygienic for most people. Plastic is also easy to find and cheaper compared to the banana leaves. So it is also recommended to wrap it using plastic wrap such as ziplock, etc.
Because of its delicious taste and abundant nutrients, now tempeh is known worldwide.
Tempeh contains lots of protein from plants, so tempeh is also loved by the vegan. In fact, the vegans worldwide is already using tempe as the meat's replacement.
This protein-rich, easy to cook, and delicious tempeh will surely make your daily consumption more healthy and colorful!
How to Determine Good Quality of Tempeh?
(Left picture: good tempeh; right picture: inedible tempeh)
Tempeh was made by the controlled fermentation process of the whole soybean or sometimes other beans which undergo inoculation with Rhizopus spp. or usually called tempeh starter in worldwide.
The beans are knitted together by a mat of white mycelium after the fermentation process, therefore good tempeh has a white color with the firm texture and nutty flavor. It is said that good tempeh has more mat covering the soybeans, therefore the beans should be barely visible. The odor is pleasant and resembles with mushroom's aroma.
Normally, tempeh can be deliciously consume after 48 hours of the fermentation process (in room temperature around 29-32°C). If the white mycelium haven't covered most of the beans yet, please incubate the tempe longer. You can extend the fermentation time until maximum 8 hours past the recommended time.
After the fermentation process is finished, you can store the finished tempeh in refrigerator for another 48 hours. Refrigerator let to stop the fermentation process and prevent the tempeh to decay in certain time.
If you continue to store it at room temperature, you must cook it maximumly in the next 24 hours. You can either fried it, or added it to another dishes.
Tempeh becomes inedible when it is wet, slimy, and mushy with a collapsed structure. Inedible tempeh has a strong odor which resembles the odor of strong ammonia or alcohol.
One of the reasons why tempeh become inedible is the continuation of the fermentation process. Extended fermentation time results in an increase in pH which makes undesirable color darkening in tempeh, make it inedible.
Therefore, it is better to cook it immediately after the fermentation process is finished.
Tempeh is treasured and loved by Indonesian people. Not only have a long history in Indonesia, tempe is also good for your health. Indonesia have lots of traditional recipe to deliciously enjoy tempeh, and we would like to share some of it in this article.
To jump to the recipe's section, please click here.
Is Tempeh is Good for Your Health?
Yes! Tempeh is known as a food full of nutrients.
There are lots of study saying that tempeh contains lots of nutrients, so it is good for your health. Some studies also show that tempeh nutrients are more easily digested, absorbed, and utilized by the body compared to those in soybeans due to the fermentation process.
One serving of tempeh (100 grams) provides around 200 calories, around 20 grams of protein, around 10 grams of carbohydrates, around 60 grams of water, and more other good substance for your body such as plant fiber, Vitamin B, antioxidant, etc. Tempeh is said to be one of the low-calorie food with a high-fiber, so it is also good to consume tempeh for diet.
Here's some health benefits from tempeh:
1. Cancer Prevention & Anti-Aging Benefits
Study showed that Asian countries have among the lowest rates of common cancers in Western society such as breast, prostate and colon cancer. This is one of the diet benefits when consuming soy. Soybean contains isoflavone and antioxidant that was called for cancer-prevention ingredients. It is also effective for anti-aging effects.
2. Cardiovascular Benefits
Even there are still few studies of tempeh and cardiovascular effect, we do know that the whole soy food products provide better cardiovascular support. Which means, this includes tempeh.
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of soy peptides found in tempeh can help protect the blood vessels from oxidative and inflammatory damage. Tempeh also act as hypocholesterolemic that is a cholesterol lowering effect. The most consistent effect of soybean intake on blood fats has been a moderate lowering of LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol). Some studies show other positive impacts on blood fats, like the lowering of triglycerides and total cholesterol.
3. Rich in Vitamin B Complex
Vitamin B complex usually found in milk, meat, egg, and fish. But, tempeh are also rich in Vitamin B Complex, one of it is Vitamin B12 that is good for helping the growth of red blood cells.
Therefore, people who consume tempeh can lower the risk of anemia, and its symptoms such as dizziness and fatigue.
4. Help You Lose Weight
Consuming tempeh is not also good for vegans, but for everyone in all ages. If you are on a diet and consuming soy as daily intake, it can help you lose weight because it is rich in plant viber. The fiber can bind some energy and fat and disposed of it together with the feces. So there will be no accumulation of fat in the body which can cause obesity.
If you already consuming tempeh, then you are a lucky person. Tempeh is said to be a good ingredient to prevent many of disease. You can start to improve your healthy lifestyle by consuming tempeh as daily intake.
Can You Eat Raw Tempeh?
You can eat both raw or cooked tempeh.
For most of people, tempeh is more delicious if you cook it rather than eating it raw. It is because raw tempeh smells like mushroom, and doesn't have any flavor. Even so, raw tempeh doesn't give any damage to your body, so you also can eat it raw.
Cooked tempeh will have delicious flavor and texture depends on how you cook it. It's delicious to enjoy tempeh cooked by deep-frying, boiling, or stir-frying it. Again, it is easy to cook and does have many recipes so you won't get bored with one dish.
Explore many kinds of tempeh recipes and find your favorite tempeh dish!
Where to Buy Tempeh?
Buying tempeh outside Indonesia won't be that easy. Sometimes, finished tempeh is available at the Asian supermarkets, or grocery stores worldwide but still the number are still small so it is hard to find.
So how we can try to eat tempeh?
Well, why don't you try to make homemade tempeh?
Homemade tempeh is good because you can use your favorite and high-quality ingredients at your own choice. In that case, homemade tempeh is sometimes healthier than commercial tempeh. In addition, making a homemade tempeh is not difficult.
What will you need to make a homemade tempeh are tempeh starter, soybeans (we are using organic soybeans), and plastic (ziplock) for wrapping the tempeh. You can find the high-quality ingredients for making homemade tempe in our website, too!
(Order the Homemade Tempe kit for all-in ingredients with more reasonable price!)
Click here to see How to Make Tempe
Recommended Recipes for Tempeh
Tempeh is tasty when it is fried, or when added to another dishes. In Indonesia, tempeh become one of their everyday food. At least Indonesian people is eating tempe once a week.
Although there are many tasty recipes using tempeh,
we are going to tell you two of our most favorite recipes using tempeh.
One is fried and another is boiled, then fried (optional). The first recipe has savory taste, and another one is the mix taste between savory and sweet.
These recipes are original recipes from Indonesia and still used up until now as their treasured local food. Kawashima The Japanstore summarized the recommended recipes from Indonesian people who eat tempeh in daily consumption.
Without further ado, let's get to the recipe!
Tempeh Mendoan (Deep Fried Tempeh with Batter)
Tempeh mendoan means thin-sliced tempeh, deep fried with batter. It is a food from Central Java Province, Indonesia. The word "mendo" comes from one of The Javanese dialect (The Banyumasan dialect) which means half cooked or soft cooked tempeh. But not all of tempeh mendoan in Indonesia is half cooked, some region is also make the crispy tempeh mendoan.
The most recommended way to eat tempeh mendoan is dip the mendoan with sweet chilli sauce, with sweet soy sauce (kecap in Indonesian), or bite it together with spicy chilli.
Please eat it when still hot. It's also best to eat it together with rice. Or when having a snack time together with tea or coffee.
- ・Wheat flour
- 100 grams
- ・Tapioca starch
- 25 grams
- a pinch
- ・Coriander Powder
- 1 teaspoon
- ・Garlic (grounded)
- 1-2 Cloves
- ・Leek (sliced)
- 1 stem
- 130 ml
- 200 grams
- (for deep frying)
- Cut the tempeh into thin slices (Usually can be cut to 8 slices, but you can cut it with our own thickness preference).
- Combine all the batter ingredients in a mixing bowl, make sure that all the ingredients mixed together without any lumps. Don’t add too much water, so the batter is a bit thick like a pancake mixture.
- Heat the oil in frying pan in medium to high heat.
- Once the oil is heated enough, dip each slice of tempeh to the batter and deep fry until the color becomes gold brown-ish color.
- Lift tempeh from the frying pan and drain the oil in oil strainer.
- Arrange the tempeh mendoan on a serving plate and serve immediately when it is still hot.
This recipe is also come from Central Java Province, Indonesia. Bacem started as a process to preserve food. The main ingredients to make bacem food/preserved food is tempeh or tofu (tahu in Indonesian). Bacem food is sweet, but you can feel the slight savory taste behind the sweetness.
The cooked proteins contained lasts much longer compared to the uncooked ones, and bacem food can be stored in the fridge for future consumption (up to 4 days). You can eat it after boiled, or fried (frying the bacem will add crispness outside and tenderness inside). It's also a perfect match for rice.
- 400 grams
- ・Palm sugar
- 75 grams
- ・Red onion (chopped)
- 4 cloves
- ・Garlic (chopped)
- 2 cloves
- ・Turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoons
- ・Coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon
- ・Sweet soy sauce
(Kecap in Indonesian)
- 4-5 tablespoons
- ・Bay leaves
- 4 leaves
- 2 teaspoons
- 2 litres
- Place all the ingredients at once in a pot and bring to a boil in medium heat.
- Stir slowly and do it periodically to prevent burn. Make sure that the ingredients are not wrecked when you do the stir.
- The boiling time is around 1 hour or until all the water dissolves.
- Turn off the heat and take the tempeh from the pot. You can serve it immediately by deep fried it or preserved it in refrigerator for future consumption. It can last up to 4 days in refrigerator.
Astuti, et al. (2000). "Tempe, A Nutritious and Healthy Food from Indonesia." Asia Pacific Clinical Nutrition Society.
Dinar, Frida. (2013). "Manfaat Tempe Terhadap Kesehatan Tubuh". Lembaga Pengabdian kepada Masyarakat Universitas Negeri Medan.
Visit the link below to see how to make homemade tempeh:
How To Make Homemade Tempeh