You may have heard of this soybean cake and wondered what it’s all about. For those who are not fans of the texture of tofu you might find this to be a fantastic alternative.
What is tempeh?
Tempeh is a cake that is make by culturing and fermenting soybeans, which are then pressed into a cake. The result is a neutral tasting product, which has a slight umami taste, and has some chew and bite to it, unlike the soft texture of tofu. The fermentation process and the use of the whole bean results in a higher protein content, more dietary fiber and more vitamins and minerals, including calcium and iron. The mild flavor also makes it a great receptor of flavors, making it great in stir fry or with sauces as a meat alternative.
Tempeh may also be made with different types of beans, wheat or whole grains, so check the packaging for these variations.
What to look for
Tempeh comes in shrink wrapped packages, usually found in the dairy or produce case at your market. Look for the freshest package you can find, and store it in the fridge when you get home. As a result of the fermentation process you may see dark “mold” spots on the block. This is a natural by product and not to be confused with spoilage, nor does it affect the flavor. Think of it like the green mold in blue cheese. If the look disturbs you, simply trim it away.
How to Cook Tempeh
Tempeh’s firm texture makes it a great alternative to meat in a burger. Tempeh is quite versatile in the kitchen. It can be baked, broiled, fried, grilled, steamed or sautéed. It can be sliced or diced into different shapes, or broken up into crumbles. It maintains it shape quite beautifully, especially on the grill.