What is Tempeh? Here’s how to cook with popular protein-packed Indonesian ingredients

The volcanic island of Java boasts scenic sights, diverse wildlife and Indonesia’s busiest city, Jakarta. But it is also the birthplace of one of the country’s favorite dishes. Tempeh, a cultured soy-based protein invented in Java hundreds of years ago, is now a staple of Indonesian cuisine. You can almost always find it in warungs (which are small cafes or kiosks) in the country, alongside local dishes consisting of noodles and fresh vegetables. In fact, research indicates that Indonesians eat about seven kilograms of tempeh each year.

But in recent years, tempeh has expanded beyond Indonesia’s picturesque shores and found a place on tables around the world. The global market is worth about $5 billion, and in the United States, the ingredient has become a mainstay on grocery store shelves. But what exactly is tempeh? Is it nutritious? And how do you cook with it? We’ve got all the answers below, plus delicious vegetarian recipe ideas.

What is temp?

Tempeh, referred to as “temp” in Indonesia, has become synonymous with a special type of food made from soybeans, but the word actually refers to process By which it is produced: Fermentation.

According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, “Tempeh is a traditional fermented food made from soaked and cooked soybeans, usually with a mold of the genus Rhizopus. “After fermentation, the soybeans are covered with dense cotton mycelium. binds together into a compact cake.”

It all sounds pretty scientific, but the result is a chewy, nutty, protein-packed ingredient that effectively soaks up the flavor of anything you cook, making it an ideal meat substitute.

VegNews.Tempeh.Fermenter Cookbook.AaronAdams.SasquatchBooks.Unsplash

Is tempeh nutritious?

Tempeh is highly nutritious, thanks, in part, to the way it is produced. The fermentation process helps break down phytic acid and other antinutrients found in soybeans, making nutrients more accessible to the body.

The versatile ingredient is a good source of nutrients like protein, fiber, B vitamins, iron and calcium. It’s a probiotic food, meaning it contains beneficial bacteria that can help improve gut health and boost immunity.

How do you cook with tempeh?

There are many ways to cook with tempeh. It can be pan-fried, grilled, baked and even boiled. But according to chef and food writer Lara Lee, one of the best ways to cook it is in the deep-fryer. “Deep-frying tempeh enhances its valuable umami flavor and savory flesh, making it a versatile ingredient that works in multiple cuisines and food cultures,” he explains. have fun. “When eaten as a traditional snack in Indonesia, tempeh is always deep fried.”

Vegan recipes with tempeh

If you want to sample the joy of tempeh for yourself, there are several ways to enjoy it. To get you started, we’ve collected some of our favorite vegan recipes with temp below.

VegNews.TempehPeanutSatayAshley Madden

1 Vegan Smokey Tempeh Peanut Satay

Combine Indonesian and Thai cuisine by whipping up this delicious nutty and protein-packed tempeh peanut satay, which calls for a super-flavorful Thai-inspired marinade. When you’re ready to tuck in, serve with fragrant lemongrass rice or your favorite roasted vegetables (or both!).
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VegNews.BeefyTempehIsa Chandra Moskowitz

2 Beefy Vegan Tempeh and Broccoli

A staple of Chinese takeout, beef and broccoli is incredibly popular around the world. But it is possible to enjoy the taste of this dish without any meat and without opening a delivery app. Instead, save your money and try this vegan beefy dish made with tempeh instead. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how meaty and satisfying it is.
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VegNews.breakfastskilletJill and Jeffrey Dalton

3 Smoky Vegan Tempeh, Mushroom and Potato Breakfast Skillet

For days when you have a little extra time in the morning, bookmark this vegan breakfast skillet, packed with delicious veggies, crispy roasted potatoes, and fried tempeh. It’s packed with nutrients, super satisfying, and guaranteed to become a new family favorite.
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VegNews.MisoMustardTempeh2Alexandra Sheetsman

4 Miso-mustard tempeh with roasted baby bok choy

Combine three different Asian foods, miso (from Japan), bok choy (Chinese cabbage), and tempeh to create this delicious, nutrient-dense, satisfying lunch or dinner. Add a little mustard for a hint of spice and a squeeze of fresh lemon for extra flavor.
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VegNews.PumpkinSagePastaAmy Angelou

5 Vegan Pumpkin Sage Pasta with Blackened Tempeh

You can’t go wrong with pasta. It’s the perfect midweek dinner solution and goes with everything, including temp. To blacken it, all you need to do is make a marinade, which in this recipe, includes olive oil, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, tamari, chili flakes, and liquid smoke.
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VegNews.SweetPotato SaladWithTempeh.GenaHamshaw.1600Jenna Hamshaw

6 Vegan Sweet Potato Salad with Tempeh and Maple-Mustard Dressing

If you’re tired of making the same salad recipes, shake things up by making this delicious sweet potato salad, which is as hearty as it tastes, thanks to the maple-mustard dressing. Add cubes of baked tempeh for extra protein and texture.
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7 Tempeh ‘Bacon’ and Asparagus in Lemon-Garlic Sauce

Bacon and asparagus are often paired together, and that’s because the flavors and textures balance each other out so well. But you don’t have to eat meat to enjoy this classic combination. Tempeh makes a great crispy and flavorful bacon substitute, especially when cut into thin strips and baked.
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