What is Tempeh and How To Cook It

What is Tempeh and How To Cook It

Meet tempeh, a versatile and protein-packed ingredient that is the main attraction in this mouthwatering, Asian-inspired recipe. Your taste buds will be enraptured by this mix of tamarin, tangy rice vinegar, and delicate sesame oil.

Table of Contents

The scene: You’re preparing a splendid feast for a dinner party. You want to serve something versatile, nutritious, and delicious that will impress your friends (and enemies, should you invite them to your social gatherings). Look no further than tempeh, a plant-based protein superhero that will quickly become a staple in your recipe repertoire. Just one taste and you’ll see why tempeh has become a meat-alternative favorite among vegans, vegetarians, and curious foodies alike.

This edible wonder comes from Indonesia, where it has been enjoyed for hundreds of years. It’s made from fermented soybeans and is as healthy as it is tasty, and provides that balance between wholesomeness, flavor, and style.

We’ll guide you through the process of transforming soybeans into a culinary showstopper with our tips, simple grocery list, and an artful approach to technique. No matter the occasion, this recipe delivers.

Why You Will Love This Recipe

Tempeh is so versatile; you can cook it in several ways and adapt it to a range of dishes. Here, we bake the tempeh, but you can also fry or grill it. Play around with the marinade and serve the tempeh cubes as an appetizer or finger food at your next cocktail party. They are a great way to inject some protein into your meals.

Is This Tempeh Healthy?

As mentioned, tempeh is made from cooked and fermented soybeans, which are a great protein source. In fact, they contain all essential amino acids (we call these foods “complete proteins”). Tempeh is also packed with micronutrients like iron and calcium. Last, it contains prebiotics, which can reduce inflammation and aid with digestion.

INGREDIENTS

The hardest item to procure might be the tempeh, though most grocery stores stock it nowadays (you may have to go hunting for it, though).

  • 8 oz fresh tempeh
  • 4 tbsp tamarin
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • sliced spring onions, for garnish
  • freshly ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

Prep

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking tray with baking or parchment paper. Cut the tempeh into bite-sized cubes.

Steam

Place the tempeh cubes in a steamer basket or on a steamer rack and set over a pot with 1 inch of water. Bring the water to a simmer and let the tempeh steam for 15 minutes until half cooked.

Mix

Mix the tamarin, rice vinegar, honey, rice vinegar, and sesame oil in a small bowl. Season with the pepper. 

Marinate

Place the steamed tempeh in a baking dish, pour over the marinade, and mix until well coated. Marinate for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.

Bake

Place the marinated tempeh on the prepared baking tray and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush the remaining marinade onto the cubes. Place the tempeh back in the oven and bake for another 5 minutes until the cubes are charred around the edges. Remove the baked tempeh from the oven and transfer to plates.

Garnish

Garnish with sliced spring onions.

DEVOUR!

Variations

  • Instead of slicing the tempeh into cubes, cut them into other shapes, like triangles or strips. You can bake, steam, fry, or even grill these fermented soybeans. 
  • If you can’t find tamarin in your local supermarket, go for regular or low-sodium soy sauce. If you use regular soy sauce, make sure to use less, because it’s saltier than tamarin.
  • Substitute honey with maple syrup. The flavor is slightly different, but both work well for this recipe.

Serving Suggestions

Easy Chicken Turmeric Recipe: Vegetarians who may have wanted to try this recipe can switch out the chicken for tempeh and enjoy this Instant Pot meal that is also paleo friendly, whole30, low-carb, and keto.

Hunan Chicken: Another chicken recipe that can be enjoyed by vegetarians just so long as they replace the meat with tempeh.

Vegan Rainbow Peanut Tofu Noodles: You don’t need to replace anything for this one but you CAN add tempeh. The noodles already contain protein but if you want a bigger boost, tempeh is just the ticket.

FAQs

Is tempeh allergen-free?

Tempeh is gluten-free and nut-free but usually contains soybeans. If you are allergic to soy, I don’t recommend using this product. If you have any allergens, always check the list of ingredients on the package. Some brands may add ingredients like grains or flavorings that could contain gluten. Stick to a certified gluten-free option to be sure.

Is tempeh the same as tofu?

Tempeh and tofu are both made from soy. For the fermentation process of tempeh, the whole bean is used, which holds the shape better than regular tofu.  Tempeh also contains more protein, fiber, and vitamins than tofu.

Why does my tempeh taste bitter?

The fermentation process causes tempeh to taste bitter. The most efficient way to remove or reduce bitterness is to marinate the tempeh in a mixture of soy sauce (tamarin), vinegar, and sweetener for at least 30 minutes.

How do I pick the best tempeh at the store?

When selecting tempeh, look for a uniform, compact texture, and a slight off-white or beige color. It should bear a distinctive earthy aroma, which is from the fermentation. A few black spots on the surface aren’t a big deal – they could simply be signs of healthy mold, which, again, derives from fermentation. That said, if the mold appears excessively dark, overly pungent, or slimy, consider avoiding that particular tempeh and opting for a fresher batch.

Can I substitute tamarin for soy sauce or another ingredient?

Tamarin has a distinct flavor profile that lends itself well to tempeh, but yes, you can replace it with soy sauce or Tamari if you’re unable to find tamarin. Tamari is also gluten-free, it should be noted.

Is it necessary to steam tempeh before baking?

Steaming the tempeh helps remove any bitterness and allows for better absorption of the marinade. It’s not mandatory but it does affect the dish’s overall flavor, texture, and appeal. Were you to skip this step, the tempeh’s taste could be weakened.

Can I grill or pan-fry the tempeh instead of baking it?

Definitely! This is one of tempeh’s main attractions: it can be grilled or pan-fried. Just adjust the cooking time and temperature accordingly – a few minutes on each side over MEDIUM heat or MED-HIGH grill should do. What you want is tempeh with a crisp exterior and tender interior so you can fully embrace its unique texture and charm.

Cutting tempeh

How to Store Tempeh

Refrigerate

To store cooked tempeh in the refrigerator, place the cooled leftovers in an airtight container. If possible, separate the tempeh cubes from any garnishes or side dishes. Properly stored, cooked tempeh will last for up to 3-5 days. To reheat, consider using a skillet, oven, or microwave, ensuring that the tempeh is heated through and maintains its enticing texture.

freeze

For longer storage periods, cooked tempeh can be safely stored in the freezer. Transfer the cooled tempeh cubes into a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag, taking care to remove any excess air. Label and date the container, and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. You will probably want to thaw the tempeh in the refrigerator overnight before warming it in a skillet or oven. Reheating from a frozen state is possible, but the texture might be slightly compromised.

In both cases, a splash of sauce or marinade will help restore the original flavor and vibrancy of the dish.

Print

What Is Tempeh And How Do You Cook It

Meet tempeh, a versatile and protein-packed ingredient that is the main attraction in this mouthwatering, Asian-inspired recipe. Your taste buds will be enraptured by this mix of tamarin, tangy rice vinegar, and delicate sesame oil.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 417kcal
Author FoodFaithFitness

Ingredients

  • 8 oz fresh tempeh
  • 4 tbsp tamarin
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • sliced spring onions for garnish
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking tray with baking or parchment paper. Cut the tempeh into bite-sized cubes.
  • Place the tempeh cubes in a steamer basket or on a steamer rack and set over a pot with 1 inch of water. Bring the water to a simmer and let the tempeh steam for 15 minutes until half cooked.
  • Mix the tamarin, rice vinegar, honey, rice vinegar, and sesame oil in a small bowl. Season with the pepper. 
  • Place the steamed tempeh in a baking dish, pour over the marinade, and mix until well coated. Marinate for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
  • Place the marinated tempeh on the prepared baking tray and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush the remaining marinade onto the cubes. Place the tempeh back in the oven and bake for another 5 minutes until the cubes are charred around the edges. Remove the baked tempeh from the oven and transfer to plates. Garnish with spring onions.

Notes

  • If you can’t find tamarin in your local supermarket, go for regular or low-sodium soy sauce. If you use regular soy sauce, make sure to use less, because it’s saltier than tamarin.
  • When selecting tempeh, look for a uniform, compact texture, and a slight off-white or beige color. It should bear a distinctive earthy aroma, which is from the fermentation. A few black spots on the surface aren’t a big deal – they could simply be signs of healthy mold, which, again, derives from fermentation. That said, if the mold appears excessively dark, overly pungent, or slimy, consider avoiding that particular tempeh and opting for a fresher batch.

Nutrition

Calories: 417kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 19mg | Potassium: 664mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 9IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 149mg | Iron: 4mg

The post What is Tempeh and How To Cook It appeared first on Food Faith Fitness.

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