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What Is Tempeh?

What Is Tempeh?

Tempeh is a white mould-covered cake resulting from the fermentation by Rhizopus oligosporous fungus upon its substrate, which can be legumes, grains or seeds. As the fungi grows, a dense mat of white mycelium binds the legumes into a firm cake form.

Tempeh originated in Java, Indonesia. The earliest known reference appeared in 1815.

1

Tempeh is made from whole soybeans,

whereas tofu is made from the coagulation of soybean milk and a binding agent (such as gypsum). By consuming tempeh over tofu, you are gaining health benefits from the whole bean, such as dietary fibre. Thus tempeh is far less processed compared to tofu.

2

Tempeh is fermented,

whereas tofu is not fermented. The fermentation process not only deactivates the anti-nutrients in soybeans that cause gas as indigestion (oligosaccharides), but also adds B complex vitamins. Thus tempeh is more readily digestible and nutritious compared to tofu.

3

Tempeh is a better meat substitute

in most dishes compared to tofu. Tempeh has a firmer, more chewy, “meatier” texture, unlike tofu which has a high water content. The fermentation and enzymatic breakdown of proteins in tempeh contributes greater umami, or savoury, compounds that are not found in tofu.

Seitan is made from wheat gluten, the main protein in wheat. It is not a soy product, not fermented, and also not suitable for celiacs or people who wish to avoid gluten.