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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

My Favourite - Tempeh

You must be wondering what "tempeh" is...right? Tempeh originated from Indonesia and is one of Indonesia's Favourite Foods! Tempeh is fermented 1 to 3 days old cooked hulled soya beans. Tempeh can normally last in the fridge for 1 to 2 weeks unopened. Once open, please consume as soon as possible.

Tempeh is rich in proteins, fibre, Vitamin B, Iron, Calcium and Mono-unsaturated fats and isoflavones. Tempeh is also a complete protein food as it retains all the essential amino acids. The soy protein and Isoflavones in tempeh has proven to help ease Menopausal Symptoms (not like I am experiencing this now), strengthen bones, reduce risks of coronary heart diseases, and some cancers. Tempe is really cheap here in Malaysia. A standard packet of Tempeh will cost in between RM1.00 to RM4.90 depending on where you purchase them from on what type of beans were used to make the tempeh. Organic Tempeh would obviously cost more than normal Tempeh.

My first reaction after seeing a packaged tempeh was that it was gross and slimy but in actual fact, tempeh is not of slimy texture. They actually feel rubbery and dry. If your tempeh is slimy or moldy, please throw it away immediately as it is not fresh anymore.
Tempeh is normally used in Malay cooking. Tempeh has texture and I love chewing on the beans as they impart a really nice nutty flavor. Tempeh, like tofu, is tasteless on its own. It is usually fried with condiments or just a simple sprinkle of salt does wonders to it.
As a Chinese, I didn't dare try Tempeh as I thought that it would taste really yucky like tempoyak (another type of fermented malay product) till last year when my ex-colleague told me try a piece of tempeh fried with potatoes in dried chillies, tamarind and onions sambal. After that 1st taste, there was no turning back! The Tempeh that I usually eat now is either fried that way or with french beans and tau-kwa (fried soyabean cake) or just plain tempeh (all using the same base of sambal). Once in a while, I will indulge in plain sliced deep fried tempeh dusted in tumeric powder and corn flour or thinly sliced tempeh that will be deep fried till it's really crispy and like a potato chip. My malay colleagues know that I love Tempeh and every time without fail, my plate will have a serving of tempeh on it.

Tempeh fried with french beans and taukwa in dried chillies, onions and tamarind mixture.

Thinly sliced Tempeh rolled in tumeric powder and cornflour before frying and then sprinkled with salt. Best eaten accompanied by Sambal.

These tempeh cubes can be consumed with dipping in Sambal or further fried with potatoes, dried anchovies (ikan bilis) and peanuts or with french beans and Taukwa in sambal.

Tempeh has also gained popularity overseas. A simple search on the internet shows tempeh has been adapted into western styled dishes such as burgers, steaks, sandwiches, and many more. Tempeh is much more healthier than the Chinese Vegetarian Foodstuff such as mockmeats as these are often processed heavily to create a similar taste to real meats.
If you do ever have a chance to taste Tempeh, do not hesistate and go ahead to enjoy it. They taste really really good!

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