Homemade Tempeh

I’ve finally made my own tempeh from scratch!

Tempeh is a plant-based protein source that originated in Indonesia. It is a super food high in protein and is gaining popularity worldwide as an ideal meat substitute or to enjoy with its hearty texture and slightly nutty flavor .

Indeed I echo what Emily Han @ Kitchn said that making your own tempeh takes more time and effort than going to the grocery store. It certainly isn’t any cheaper especially for a novice like me with so many failed attempts. However, it is completely worthwhile to see the fermentation from loose beans or any legumes binding together into a cake.

Making tempeh is a process of controlled fermentation. The beans are inoculated with a starter culture that contains Rhizopus mold spores (either Rhizopus oligosporus or Rhizopus oryzae), and then fermented at a warm temperature between 85°F and 90°F (30 to 35°C). As the mycelium grows, it binds the beans into a dense, white cake.

I live in New Zealand and there is absolutely no where to buy any tempeh starter. I tried making my own starter from store bought tempeh but failed. The reason could possibly be that commercially bought tempeh had been pasteurized. Thanks to Tempe Bumbung that I finally received my first ever Ragi Tempe Starter shipped from Indonesia.

I have also successfully created my own starter from my homemade tempeh. It worked ok but certainly not as strong or fast acting as Ragi Tempe Starter.

I made my tempeh in a DIY Incubator comprising of a chilly bin with a light on. The temperature inside the big chilly bin (it is higher with a smaller chilly bin) is around 35°C and it could get up to 40°C when I have the heater on. I guess that is the reason why I have not yet perfected a completely white cake after four attempts. I took me 2 days or 48 hours to complete a batch. Once the fermentation is completed, I freeze my tempeh and then microwave for 30 to 60 seconds before cooking in various recipes.

Sharing some photos of my tempeh making. I am in love with this new hobby and learning so much about this versatile and nutritious food.  I’ve experimented with more than just traditional soya beans tempeh.  You can use any legumes or even rice.

My favourite tempeh recipe is Tempeh Pie.  It’s simple and delicious, cooked in three easy steps.

  1.  Microwave the frozen tempeh for 30 seconds to 60 seconds (to defrost) and then cut into small pieces.
  2. Cook with mushrooms (or peas) in BBQ sauce.  Add some milk to moisturize and topped with feta cheese.
  3. Cool and using ready-made puff pastry sheets, prepare your pie crust and add the fillings.  Bake for 25 minutes.

This is definitely a delicious healthy pie recipe.  Enjoy!


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