Description: Tempeh is a cultured food made of beans and/or grains that has been a staple food in Indonesia, for centuries. It is sold in 8-ounce cakes, which are approximately three inches wide and nine inches long. Tempeh can be made from plain soybeans or a mixture of soybeans and grains or vegetables. It is made by cooking and dehulling grains and inoculating them with a culture called rhizopus oligosporus. It is incubated overnight, harvested the next day, and then steamed to be made ready for eating. It can be found with added ingredients such as barley, whole grain, rice, split soybean, quinoa, and sea vegetables.
What to look for: When purchasing tempeh, always make sure to buy a brand that is certified organic, to avoid genetically-modified soybeans and pesticides.
Uses: One block of tempeh serves two adults. Tempeh can be eaten raw, but you probably won’t want to. It can be diced or cut into strips and then is best cooked. It can be baked, broiled, pan-seared, grilled and makes for a delicious sandwich. Tempeh soaks up marinades (and cooking oil) very easily, so it only needs to be marinated for a short time-about twenty minutes. Once you open a package of tempeh, you should use it up within a few days. Tempeh can easily be frozen and kept for a few months. When you want to use it, simply remove it from the freezer, and allow it to thaw at room temperature for a few hours.
Where to find: Natural food stores and online resources.
Avoid: If the tempeh develops red spots, a slimy coating, or an off-smell (like ammonia), discard.