This might be hard to believe, but I have been vegan for 8 months now (plus vegetarian off and on for a couple years prior) and until Monday night, I had never tried tempeh!
Well, I’m sure I’ve had it in some dishes before without realizing it. But I’ve never purchased or made it myself at home before now.
What is tempeh?
Tempeh, or tempe in Indonesian, is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form. Tempeh is unique among major traditional soy-foods in that it is the only one that did not originate in China or Japan. It originated in today’s Indonesia, and is especially popular on the island of Java, where it is a staple source of protein. Like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans, but tempeh is a whole soybean product with different nutritional characteristics and textural qualities. Tempeh’s fermentation process and its retention of the whole bean give it a higher content of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamin. It has a firm texture and strong flavor. Because of its nutritional value, tempeh is used worldwide in vegetarian cuisine; some consider it to be a meat analogue.
Thank you, Wikipedia! The nutritional profile is also outstanding — tempeh is a good source of protein and fiber!
I happened upon this package of tempeh which was on sale at Whole Foods over the weekend.
And since I had some veggies in my fridge to use up, I decided to make a stir fry.
Thanks to my friend Carrie for supplying me with some delicious, local, organic snow peas from her CSA! 🙂
I also threw in my own mix of peppers and onions that I had thawed from the freezer. Also, I drizzled on some soy sauce as I cooked everything.
I absolutely adored the tempeh! I might even go as far as to say I liked it better than tofu. It’s just an entirely different texture and I liked how much easier it was to cook!
Now I just need to figure out what else to make with it, since I only used half the package. 😉
Have you tried tempeh?