What Is Tempeh? Everything You Need To Know

What Is Tempeh? Everything You Need To Know
By The Cooking World, Editorial Staff
November 21, 2018

Vegetarian Protein

Vegetarian Protein or “Fake Meat” can sound pretty disgusting for non-vegetarians. But the truth is that products like tempeh, tofu or seitan can be very tasty. Some people actually say that this type of product has a taste very similar to meat

In a world where more and more new food trends are emerging such as keto diet a gluten-free diet among many others, it is increasingly important to realize what we are actually eating. So, is this article we will take a deeper look at tempeh.

What is Tempeh?

Though tempeh isn’t quite as popular as tofu, it is a mainstay of many vegetarian and vegan diets (and is particularly popular in Southeast Asia). This is a soy-based product and an alternative to meat. Made from cooked and fermented soybeans, which are then pressed and shaped into a brick. People use it to mimic bacon, chorizo, and other meat products.

Although is traditionally made with soybeans, it can actually be made with any type of bean, like black beans, black-eyed peas, and chickpeas. Some kinds of tempeh also include grains, like brown rice, barley, millet, or seeds.

Where to find?

You can buy it in any health food store, as well as most grocery stores.

How to buy?

Just like any other product, you should look for a tempeh with as few ingredients as possible. Flavored alternatives often contain extra soy sauce and sugar. You should look for fresh spices, herbs, and homemade low-salt marinades so you know what you’re actually putting into your body. If you’re gluten-free, double check that each ingredient listed is compatible with your diet.

Once you’ve already opened it, wrap it tightly and store it in the fridge for no more than five days. But unopened it can last up to several months in the fridge and up to three months in the freezer. To defrost it, pop it in the refrigerator overnight (like you would defrost frozen meat).

How to eat?

This Indonesian staple is a super versatile food, and there’s no shortage of ways to eat it. You can use tempeh the same way as you use tofu, in burgers, salads, stir-fries and stews. Basically, in everything you want! But you should keep in mind that tempeh is firm, so it’s best to slice it into thin slices or cubes before preparing it.

What Is Tempeh?
Baked Tempeh Bacon

What does it taste like?

Tempeh is firm and textured with a savory, nutty taste. Very different from the subtle flavor of tofu.

Tempeh Nutrition and benefits

Nutritional breakdown of one serving of cooked tempeh:

Calories: 195
Fat: 11 g (3 g sat)
Protein: 20 g
Carbohydrates: 8 g
Fiber: 0 g
Sodium: 14 mg

Tempeh also contains about 10 percent of the daily calcium (a mineral that is responsible for keeping bones strong and dense)  and iron needs. And since it’s fermented, it balances the healthy bacteria in your gut, which can strengthen the immune system. In addition to being good for the body is also good for the environment as it reduces the excessive consumption of animal protein.

What Is Tempeh?
Gochujang Tempeh Wings – Recipe By The Curious Chickpea

Tempeh vs Tofu

People often use the terms tempeh and tofu interchangeably, but they couldn’t be any more different. The first big difference between these products is the way they are made. Tempeh is minimally processed using whole soybeans, while tofu is made by coagulating soy milk, then pressing the curd into blocks. Tofu has a soft texture and is sold in varying degrees of firmness, from silken to extra firm. Meanwhile, tempeh is hearty and firm with a varied texture from the whole soybeans.

The second big difference is in the flavor. Tempeh has a much stronger flavor than tofu. It’s savory and nutty, and many people describe it as having an earthy, mushroomy taste. Tofu, on the other hand only has a subtle flavor and is pretty bland.

Nutritionally, they’re different, too. Tempeh is higher in calories than tofu (195 cal compared to tofu’s 76 calories) but has more protein per serving (20 grams compared to tofu’s 8 grams).

What Is Tempeh?

At The End

We are talking about a nutrient-dense soy product with a high amount of protein, as well as various vitamins and minerals. It’s is a meat alternative that may decrease cholesterol levels, oxidative stress while improving bone health. With a great level of probiotics, which can improve digestive health and promote weight loss. Basically, we are talking about a versatile and nutritious food that can be an excellent addition to any diet.

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