From Academic Kids

Tempeh is a fermented soybean food that is most popular in Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia. Although it is often associated with tofu, tempeh is actually quite different. The fermentation process gives tempeh many nutritional and flavor components not found in tofu. For example, it has a stronger taste and firmer texture than tofu.


1 References
2 External links


Missing image
A piece of uncooked tempeh.

Tempeh begins with whole soybeans, which are softened and cracked or pulped. A mild acidulent, usually vinegar, is added and a culture containing the fungus Rhizopus oligosporus is then mixed in. The beans are spread into a thin layer and are allowed to ferment for approximately 24 hours at a temperature around 30°C (86°F). In good tempeh, the beans are knit together by a mat of white mycelia. If the fermentation proceeds for too long a time, black spores may form on the surface -- this is not harmful, although the highest quality tempeh has little or no sporulation visible. A mild ammonia smell may accompany good tempeh as it ferments, but is usually not overpowering.


The soy protein in tempeh becomes more digestible as a result of the fermentation process. In particular, the oligosaccharides that are associated with gas and indigestion are greatly reduced by the Rhizopus culture. In traditional tempeh making shops, the starter culture often contains other beneficial bacteria that produce vitamins (like vitamin B12). In western countries, it is more common to use a pure culture containing only Rhizopus oligosporus. Because tempeh is made from whole beans, it is also a good source of fiber.


Specialty tempehs may be made from other types of beans, or may include a mixture of beans and whole grains. Tempeh bongrek is an Indonesian variety of tempeh that is prepared with coconut. This type of tempeh occasionally gets contaminated, and the unwanted organisms produce toxins from the coconut. This problem is not encountered with bean or grain tempeh. When bean or grain tempeh has the proper color, texture and smell, it is a very strong indication that the product is safe.


In the kitchen, tempeh is often prepared by cutting it into pieces, soaking in brine or salty sauce, and frying in oil. Cooked tempeh can be eaten alone, or used in chili, soups and stews. Tempeh has a complex flavor that has been described as nutty, meaty, and mushroom-like. Tempeh freezes well, and is now available in many western countries in ethnic markets and health food stores.

Other fermented soy products include miso, douchi and natto.


  • Shurtleff, William, and Akiko Aoyagi. 1979 [1985]. The book of tempeh. New York: Colophon Books. ISBN 0060912650.
    • This book was instrumental in spreading awareness and appreciation of this soyfood in the west, and is still in print decades after the first edition came out. Shurtleff and Aoyagi also published a book on professional tempeh production, which has since gone out of print.

External links

  • Tempeh (http://www.tempeh.info/) — Information about tempeh: how to make tempeh at home, health benefits of tempeh.
  • Book of Tempeh page (http://www.tenspeed.com/catalog/all/item.php3?id=1271) — Ten-Speed Pressde:Tempeh

fr:Tempeh id:Tempe ms:Tempe nl:Tempeh ja:テンペ


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