How to Make Homemade Tempeh

This recipe is a summary by Kawashima The Japanstore under the advice of the fermented food manufacturer.

We want you to see it as an example of how to make the homemade tempeh.

Please enjoy to make homemade tempeh with your own preference in the most suitable atmosphere for you.

We will continue to revised this recipe.
So please let us know if there are better methods and tools that will be useful.

We'll hope that you can complete a delicious, homemade tempeh!

What is Tempeh

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.

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!

Click here to learn more about tempeh

Materials to Make Homemade Tempeh


  • Soybeans (200 grams to 1000 grams *choose your own appropriate amount)
  • Tempeh starter (1 gram to 10 grams)
  • ・ White Vinegar (100 ml againts 200 grams of soybeans)

More Convenient if you Have

Click here to see our Recommended Products for Tempeh

How to Make Homemade Tempeh

1. Rinse The Soybeans


Put all the soybean into a bowl. Rinse the beans well without breaking the skin. The dirt on the skin contains a lot of bacteria that would make it difficult to make good tempeh.

Let's rinse it well and remove all the dirt.

2. Soak The Beans Into Water with White Vinegar


Soak the soybeans with water about 4 times the soybean weight (for example, 2 liters of water if you're using 500 grams of soybeans). The dry soybeans will absorb water and weights about 2.2 times heavier and the volume becomes more than 2.6 times its original volume.

When the water temperature reaches 20℃ or more, microorganism will grow in immersion water. To prevent the increase of microorganisms, let's put the white vinegar to the water.
Put about 50 ml againts every 1 litre of water. So if you are using 2 litres of water, please put about 100 ml of white vinegar.

The immersion time:
・25 hours in winter .............................. Water temperature about 0-5℃
・15 hours in Spring/Autumn ................. Water temperature 10-15℃
・6 hours in Summer (standard time) ..... Water temperature 20-25℃

3. Peel Off The Soybean's Skin


If there is a thin skin from the soybean, there is a high possibility that the fermentation process will not work well.

So let's peel all the soybean's skin. Rub the beans gently and peel off the skin.
This process takes roughly about an hour.

4. Simmer The Beans


Put the peeled soybeans into a pot, add the desired water and vinegar (1 litre of water with 50 ml vinegar, or 2 litres of water with 100 ml vinegar).
Boil the beans with low heat for about 30 minutes to 60 minutes.

The perfect condition after boiling is the beans will still hard (difficult to crush) even if it is squeezed with your finger. This process is only to make the beans cooked, but not over cooked.

5. Drain The Beans


Put the simmered soybeans into a drainer and let it cool down. Shake the drainer slowly to fasten the cooling process. Let the temperature until it reaches about 40℃.

Let's drain all the water thoroughly. It will help the fermentation process works well.

6. Put The Tempeh Starter to The Soybeans


Add 1-10 grams of tempeh starter per 200 grams of cooked soybeans.

Because it is difficult to mix the tempeh starter evenly to every beans, add some flour (can be chestnut powder, parched flour, rice flour) in advance to the tempeh starter. For example, if you put 1 gram of tempeh starter, please add 10 grams of flour into it. Mix the tempeh starter mixture.

Put the cooled soybeans into a big plastic bag and add the tempeh starter mixture, shake the bag well so the tempeh starter will spread evenly.

7. Move it To Ziplock Bag


Opened some small hole in the bag with toothpick for air ventilation beforehand

Tempeh starter will produce carbon dioxide at the fermentation process. So these air holes are necessary to let the carbon dioxide escape and take some oxygen in. Make the hole at in every 3 cm square.

After finishing the holes, put the soybeans soaked with tempeh starter to the bag. Lightly press the bag to make it even.

If you are using bag such as Ziplock, you can put the finished tempeh later at the refrigerator to preserve it.

8. The Fermentation Process

Let the soybeans soaked with tempeh starter fermented for about 20-24 hours or until there are many white mycelium covering the soybeans. The most suitable temperature for fermentation is about 32℃. It is useful to have a warm incubator such as fermentor device.


Normally, the white mycelium will be visible in about 16 hours. The white mycelium will cover the surface of soybean and make a solid block shape. The tempeh will be complete with it is solidifies.


Click here to see our Recommended Products for Tempeh

The Preservation of Tempeh

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.

Making Homemade Tempeh's Q & A


Is it okay to put too much of tempeh starter to the soybeans?
There's no problem to put a little bit more tempeh starter.

The amount of the tempeh starter needed for 1 kg cooked soybeans (500 grams dried soybeans) is 1 gram tempeh starter. However, it is difficult to make the fixed amount of tempeh starter for each soybeans. So it would be better if you increase the flour, not the tempeh starter. (mix 9 grams of flour to 1 gram of tempeh starter)
I left the tempeh at room temperature, and the color becomes darker (brown to blackish).
Please be sure to save the finished tempeh in the refrigerator for leng term preservation (max 48 hours after the competion of fermentation process).

The Rhizopus spp. in the tempeh starter will still alive even after the completion of the fermentation process. So if you leave it at room temperature, the fermentation process will continue and later it can change the color of the tempeh into brown to blackish color.
You may still eat it if the tempeh doesn't have an odd smell or taste. However, after the continuation of the fermentation process, the taste will drops. An astringent taste also tends to come out. So let's not eat it when it has some strong odor which resembles the odor of strong ammonia or alcohol.
Can I still make it without pulling off the soybean's skin?
Hyphae are harder to grow in the unpeeled soybeans.

If you make tempeh with unpeeled soybeans, the fermentation process won't go well. Producing tempeh that is fragile if you touch it even only with little force (the beans and skin are easy to tear apart). Therefore, it is not recommended to leave the beans unpeeled if you want to make a good tempeh.
The tempeh smells like natto, it also has threads as we found in natto. Is it okay?
There is a possibility that there is contamination from the natto bacillus at the fermentation process.

Natto bacillus is not only in the natto starter powder, but it can also be in our environments such as soil and the atmosphere where it is possible for natto bacillus to grow. We need to clean up the working environment and working tools, make them sterile before begin making tempeh. Please do not touch or eat natto in the middle of the tempeh making. You also need to wash your hands and make it clean during the tempeh making. These actions will prevent the contamination from the natto bacillus entering the tempeh.
The tempeh is too soft. It could stick in teeth making it become a toothache.
When boiling the beans, be sure to check the softness condition of soybeans with your fingers.

If the tempeh is too soft, it can be because it is boiled too long. If you boil it too much, the peculiar texture of tempeh will disappear. The normal tempeh has a little bit firm texture from the soybeans. Let's make sure that you boil it in low heat for about 30-60 minutes. The ideal condition for the boiled soybeans are soft, but still not easy to break if you squeezed it with hands.

Click here to see our Recommended Products for Tempeh

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.
Ingredients for3-4servings
Cooking Time20minutes

 Batter Ingredients

・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.

Tempeh Bacem

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.
Ingredients for8servings
Cooking Time60minutes


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.

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