Tempeh! Ah?


Tempeh! Ay?


As I wrote that title I was cringing and laughing at the same time. I can’t help but use humour in my writing. The thought helps me relax and have a crack at making some great content  for anyone out there (Ha! – like I have any readers! But if you are there … THANKS).


So, I live in a semi-industrial area and nearby there is a factory that makes soy products for supermarkets. They also happen to sell direct to the public! Usually, I just get tofu (my family loves the stuff.) We use it mostly for salads, but also shallow fried for laksa, or fried in a flour, salt and pepper coating (my favorite). During a recent visit I discovered tempeh and decided I’d give it a try. “But Jack what’s tempeh?”- After doing some research I found that tempeh is made by fermentation of soy beans with a starter (culture). Whereas tofu is made by curdling soy milk. I was thinking back to a kitchen class from a couple of months back, I was interested in the little shapes that you can make out when the slab is cut. I realised that these were whole soybeans! We were told that it is quite nutritious and a good meat substitute for vegetarians and vegans.


This sparked my creative side and I got into the kitchen and gave it a shot! The result was actually okay! I did much better than I thought I would. I applied a coat of flour, salt and pepper, before frying. I served these delicious cubes with hummus, squeezed some orange over to top and a sprinkling of chilli flakes. There seems to be some misconception that tempeh is unappealing because of the strong taste. I reckon people need to give this one a better chance, at least try seasoning and marinading. It’s a really simple food that can be appreciated as a base from which great flavours can be built. There are some pre-marinated varieties for sale and there are some great ideas on the web. Just be sure that they aren’t loaded up with salt and/or sugar!


Nutritionally tempeh is quite similar to tofu but is less processed so it has about twice the dietary fibre (1.5g vs 2.9g /100g*) and about a three times the amount of protein (8g vs 23g /100g*). Tofu and tempeh can be healthy choices, it just depends how they are prepared! There is a difference between fried tofu going into a laksa (which can have quite a bit of fat already due to the coconut cream), and grated tofu from the pack going into a salad.

*NUTTAB 2010 (Tofu: 13B20178 VS Tempeh: 13B20183)


I’ve included my recipe so that you can experiment, and I hope you do!

1. Cube the tempeh slab. (I used a pre-marinated one.)



2. Coat the Tempeh in a mixture of flour, salt, and pepper. There should be enough pepper that the black specks are easy to make out when stirred. Dried herbs or chilli flakes could be added now too!



3. Fry the coated tempeh with as little oil as possible (1-2 tbsp) for less than 10 minutes or until golden brown.



4. Serve however you want! In salads, as a side, or by themselves.

Please remember that I’m a dietetics STUDENT, so none of my opinions should be trusted! PLEASE consult an Accredited Practising Dietitian (that’s what they’re called in Australia at least) or your GP before applying anything discussed in this blog to your diet or exercise regime


Until next time



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