How to Cook Tempeh

By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 16, 2017
How to Cook Tempeh

If you're a vegetarian or vegan you probably know what tempeh is. It is a food that is used in Eastern cuisine (particularly in Indonesia) and is highly recommended for people who don't eat animal proteins because it is rich in protein. Unlike tofu, this ingredient has a very distinctive taste similar to walnut and therefore, it offers up an exquisite taste as well as being a side dish or for eating by itself. In this OneHowTo article we show you how to cook tempeh as well as explaining its benefits.

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What is tempeh?

Tempeh is a food that comes from Eastern cuisine and is considered one of the major meat substitutes, so it is ideal for people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. It is a food that is made from soybeans that has been cooked and fermented with a type of mold that is called "Rhizopus".

This food is a key ingredient in Asian countries, especially in Indonesia. Today, thanks to its nutritional benefits, it is used in western regions to give our dishes a protein-rich ingredient and without anything coming from an animal.

The taste of tempeh is very similar to walnut and, unlike tofu (which usually has a less intense flavour), tempeh is very tasty and gives a unique touch to every dish you cook. So whether or not you are a vegetarian, cooking with tempeh will make sure your dishes are loaded with healthy nutrients such as protein, calcium or isoflavones.

It is often mistaken for tofu, but there are certain differences between tofu and tempeh.

How to Cook Tempeh - What is tempeh?

Properties of tempeh

As we have already mentioned, tempeh is rich in nutrients and is a perfect ingredient for vegetarian or healthy diets. The reason for this is that it is a food with many properties such as those that we have listed below:

  • The first thing to take into account is that the main ingredient of tempeh is soy therefore, it has all the benefits of soy such as helping to regulate cholesterol levels, having high levels of vitamin B, being rich in protein, and so on.
  • The greatest nutritional factor of tempeh is that it is rich in protein because by eating just 100 grams of this ingredient you are getting more than 40% protein and moreover, it hardly has any calories as this portion size contains only 200 calories.
  • It also contains high levels of isoflavones, a component that helps relieve symptoms of menopause and strengthen bones.
  • In addition, it is also rich in magnesium and copper so it acts as a powerful antioxidant that helps keep your body functions at an optimal level in addition to preventing premature aging.
  • When tempeh ferments with mold this process produces natural antibiotics to help make your immune system stronger and better protected against external attacks.
How to Cook Tempeh - Properties of tempeh

Cooking tempeh

To know how to cook tempeh the first thing to take into account is that it is a food that can be eaten both as a main ingredient of a dish (like a hamburger, for example) or as a side to salads, mixed in other recipes, etc. Unlike tofu, this food has a very intense and delicious flavor so it can be eaten as a dish by itself and this way, we can enjoy the benefits that we have explained above.

  • This is a food that cooks very quickly and requires no spices or sauces, unless you like spicy recipes. The general way of cooking tempeh is by cutting it into cubes and sautéing it in a pan with other ingredients such as vegetables or garlic, and in doing so, you can enjoy a fine garlic tempeh recipe.
  • In the image below you can see some fried tempeh, this is cooked by cutting tempeh into thin slices and putting them into a pan with plenty of oil. Keep turning them and then you can enjoy a healthy and very crisp snack, which is perfect as a side to other dishes.
  • Being a protein-rich food, tempeh is also often included in sandwiches accompanied by vegetables and this way, you get a healthy and nutritious snack. Similarly, it can also be mixed into your salads without needing to cook it and this way, we can enjoy its unique natural flavor.
  • In Indonesia (tempeh's country of origin) it is usually cooked with sautéed vegetables or rice to taste. Take it off the heat when you see it starting to turn golden. Although you can also choose to cook it boiled or baked, 2 lighter options that you don't have to use oil for.
  • Due to its texture, tempeh can also be treated like mince or ground meat. You can grate it and get well, texture needed to make veggie burgers, croquettes or even vegan sausages.
How to Cook Tempeh - Cooking tempeh

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