How To Make Tempeh – One of the things we really miss from Indonesia is the traditional Indonesian Tempeh. Our favourite is the delicious Tempeh that the grandmothers make in the local village in Mertelu, Gunungkidul in Yogyakarta from beans including soy and broad beans that they grow in their fields. Although we have helped make it back there under the guidance of the villagers it was a learning curve to make authentic Indonesian Tempeh back in Australia. Tempeh is readily available in Australian supermarkets and health stores but it never quite tasted the same as the homemade Tempeh. So we decided it was time to learn. We have had some success and some failed attempts- the Melbourne cold weather isn’t the best for Tempeh making. But it was lots of fun to learn and we made some yummy Tempeh.

Tempeh or Tempe (Javanese pronunciation: tempe) is a traditional Indonesian fermented food. It is made by cooking soybeans and fermenting them with a mold called Rhizopus Oryzae for 24-48H. Once the fermentation is done, all the soybeans are bound together into a compact cake by a white mold. It then becomes sliceable and ready to cook.

Since tempeh is a fermented food, it is very rich in probiotics, which aid in digestion and improve overall health. Tempeh is also:

1). Rich in protein: even if chickpeas have less protein than soybeans, they still contain 15g per cup, which makes them a great meat replacement.
2). High in fiber: in addition to being protein packed, chickpeas are also rich in soluble fiber and increase satiety.
3). A whole food: tempeh is less processed than tofu since you consume the whole beans. Tofu is made from soymilk where the ground beans are discarded. So even if tofu is a healthy food, tempeh is often considered healthier and packs more nutrients.

1). 2 cups dried soybeans, [400 g], or 5 cups [900 g] cooked soybeans
2). 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3). 3/4 teaspoon rhizopus mould (ragi tempe / tempeh starter)

01). Soak the beans overnight or for at least 8 hours. Then drain the water. (You may keep this water and feed it to the plants).
02). Rinse the bean a couple of times with fresh water then place them in a large pot and fill with fresh water to cover them so that the water level comes to about an inch above the beans.
03). Cover and cook on medium heat.
04). Keep an eye on the pot and if the water starts to boil over, place the lid at a slight angle to let more of the steam escape. Then lower the heat. Once the excess steam has gone down, you can cover the pot again.
05). Check for the water level every now and then. Check the beans for doneness as from 30 minutes. Add more water if needed to cook the beans for longer. Soybeans may take from 30 minutes to one hour to cook.
06). Cook the beans until they are almost done or to about 80% done. Then add in the vinegar. Continue to cook the beans until they are soft but not mushy.
07). Once the beans are cooked, drain almost all of the water.
08). Once drained, return the beans onto the heat and evaporate the remaining liquid from the pot. Make sure not to dry out the beans but all the liquid should be gone.
09). Allow the beans to cool to about 35Β° Celsius (or 95Β° Fahrenheit).
10). Then add the rhizopus mould to the beans and mix well.

Tempeh will keep for a week in the refrigerator or for several months in the freezer. Tempeh has to be properly cooked before consuming. It can steamed or boiled, marinated and pan fried or used according to your favourite recipes. We love make Tempeh Mendoan (crispy thin fried spiced tempeh) served with spicy green chilli and Kecap Manis. Vegan friendly.


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