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Tempeh on Wikipedia:

Fresh tempeh at the market, Jakarta, Indonesia.

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 soyfoods 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 vitamins compared to tofu, as well as firmer texture and stronger flavor. Because of its nutritional value, tempeh is used worldwide in vegetarian cuisine; some consider it to be a meat analogue.



Sliced tempeh.

Tempeh begins with whole soybeans, which are softened by soaking and dehulled, then partly cooked. Specialty tempehs may be made from other types of beans, wheat, or may include a mixture of beans and whole grains.

A mild acidulent, usually vinegar, may be added in order to lower the pH and create a selective environment that favors the growth of the tempeh mold over competitors. A fermentation starter containing the spores of fungus Rhizopus oligosporus is mixed in. The beans are spread into a thin layer and are allowed to ferment for 24 to 36 hours at a temperature around 30°C (86°F). In good tempeh, the beans are knitted together by a mat of white mycelia.

Under conditions of lower temperature, or higher ventilation, gray or black patches of spores may form on the surface—this is not harmful, and should not affect the flavor or quality of the tempeh[citation needed]. This sporulation is normal on fully mature tempeh. A mild ammonia smell may accompany good tempeh as it ferments, but it should not be overpowering. In Indonesia, ripe tempeh (two or more days old) is considered a delicacy.


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 beneficial bacteria that produce vitamins such as B12[1][2] (though it is uncertain whether this B12 is always present and bioavailable[3]). In western countries, it is more common to use a pure culture containing only Rhizopus oligosporus which makes very little B12 and could be missing Klebsiella pneumoniae which has been shown to produce significant levels of B12 analogs in tempeh when present. Whether these analogs are true, bioavailable B12, hasn't been thoroughly studied yet.[4]


Some cooked tempeh. Fried tempeh. Sautéed tempeh with green beans, an Indonesian dish

In the kitchen, tempeh is often prepared by cutting it into pieces, soaking in brine or salty sauce, and then frying. Cooked tempeh can be eaten alone, or used in chili, stir frys, soups, salads, sandwiches, and stews. Recent popular vegan cookbooks have come up with more creative ways of cooking tempeh, using it as a vegetarian substitution for breakfast meats, such as sausage and bacon. Tempeh has a complex flavor that has been described as nutty, meaty, and mushroom-like. Tempeh freezes well, and is now commonly available in many western supermarkets as well as in ethnic markets and health food stores. Tempeh performs well in a cheese grater, after which it may be used in the place of ground beef (as in tacos). When thin sliced and deep fried in oil, tempeh obtains a crispy golden crust while maintaining a soft interior—its sponge-like consistency make it suitable for marinades. Dried tempeh (whether cooked or raw) provides an excellent stew base for backpackers.


Name Description tempe bacem tempeh boiled with spices and palm sugar, and then fried for a few minutes to enhance the taste. The result is damp, spicy, sweet and dark-colored tempeh. tempe bongkrèk made from or with coconut press cake (see below) tempe bosok (busuk) rotten tempeh, used in small amounts as a flavoring tempe gembus made from okara tempe gódhóng tempeh wrapped in banana leaves tempe goreng deep-fried tempeh tempe mendoan thinly sliced tempeh, battered and deep fried quckly resulting in limp texture tempe kedelai simply tempeh, made from soybeans tempe kering raw tempeh cut into little sticks, deep fried then mixed with spices and sugar, often mixed with separately fried peanuts and anchovies (ikan teri), this can be stored up to a month if cooked properly. tempe murni tempeh made in plastic wrap without any additives such as grated raw papaya (lit. pure soybean cake) tempe oncom also onchom; made from peanut press cake; orange color; Neurospora sitophila

A new form of tempeh based on barley and oats instead of soya was developed by scientists at the Swedish Department of Food Science in 2008. It can be produced in climate regions where it is not possible to grow soya beans.[5]

Tempe bongkrèk

Tempe bongkrèk is a variety of tempeh from Central Java, notably Banyumas regency, that is prepared with coconut. This type of tempeh occasionally gets contaminated with the bacterium Burkholderia cocovenenans, and the unwanted organism produces toxins (Bongkrek acid and toxoflavin) from the coconut, besides killing off the Rhizopus fungus due to the antibiotic activity of bongkrek acid.

Fatalities from contaminated tempe bongkrèk were once common in the area where it was produced.[citation needed] Thus, the sale of tempeh bongkrèk is prohibited by law nowadays; clandestine manufacture continues, however, due to the popular flavor. The problem of contamination is not encountered with bean or grain tempeh, which have a different composition of fatty acids that is not favorable for the growth of B. cocovenenans but encourages growth of Rhizopus instead. When bean or grain tempeh has the proper color, texture and smell, it is a very strong indication that the product is safe. Tempe bongkrèk which is yellow is always highly toxic due to toxoflavin, but tempe bongkrèk with a normal coloration may still contain lethal amounts of bongkrek acid.

Tempe Mendoan

Wikibooks Cookbook has a recipe/module on Tempe Mendoan

A variation of tempeh cooking method, often found in Purwokerto. The origin of the word 'Mendoan' is from Banyumas regional dialect, which means ``to cook instantly in very hot oil``, that results in semi-raw cooking and soft texture. The tempeh is dipped into spiced flour dressing before frying it, and deep fry in hot oil for some short time. Tempe Mendoan may seems like half-cooked soft fried tempe, unlike common crispy fully deep fried tempe.

See also

Food portal Tofu Miso Douchi Natto Oncom Iru Ogiri


^ Liem IT, Steinkraus KH, Cronk TC (1977 Dec). ``Production of vitamin B-12 in tempeh, a fermented soybean food``. Appl Environ Microbiol 34 (6): 773–6..  ^ Delores D. Truesdell, Nancy R. Green, Phyllis B. Acosta (1987). ``Vitamin B12 Activity in Miso and Tempeh``. Journal of Food Science 52 (2): 493–494.  ^ Allison A. Yates. [ National Nutrition and Public Health Policies: Issues Related to Bioavailability of Nutrients When Developing Dietary Reference Intakes (from January 2000 conference: Bioavailability of Nutrients and Other Bioactive Components from Dietary Supplements].  ^ ``Vitamin B12: Are You Getting It?``. Vegan Health.  ^ ``New Vegetarian Food With Several Health Benefits``. ScienceDaily. May 30, 2008. Retrieved May 2008.  Shurtleff, William, and Akiko Aoyagi. 1979. The book of tempeh: A super soyfood from Indonesia. New York: Harper & Row (Colophon Books). ISBN 0-06-091265-0. Shurtleff, William, and Akiko Aoyagi. 1985. The book of tempeh. Berkeley, California: Ten Speed Press. Shurtleff, William, and Akiko Aoyagi. 1985. History of tempeh: A fermented soyfood from Indonesia. 2nd ed. Lafayette, California: Soyfoods Center. ISBN 0-933332-21-1. Shurtleff, William, and Akiko Aoyagi. 1989. Bibliography of tempeh and tempeh products: 1,416 references from 1815 to 1989. Lafayette, California: Soyfoods Center. ISBN 0-933332-47-5.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Tempeh Wikibooks Cookbook has a recipe/module on Tempeh History of Tempeh Making tempeh on a tray using the water bath method 2008 How We Make and Eat Tempeh Down on The Farm - Mother Earth News, Issue # 47 - September/October 1977 Step-by-step instructions for making tempeh Useful links about tempeh ``Efficient Tempeh making with Manfred`` v â€¢ d â€¢ e Soy General

Soybean Â· Soy protein Â· Soybean meal Â· Soy controversy Â· Soy allergy Â· List of soybean diseases

Meat analogues

Tofu Â· Tempeh Â· Tofurkey

Dairy analogues

Soy milk Â· Soy cheese Â· Soy yogurt Â· Soy ice cream

Sauces and condiments

Fermented bean paste Â· Soy sauce