Home Soy foods Soy and your health Recipes with soy Soy candles Make own tempeh Soy news

What is tempeh?

tempehTempeh has grown so much in popularity that it is now available in the refrigerated section of many supermarkets. Of course, you can also find it in health food stores oriental shops. Tempeh originated from Indonesia, where it is still an important food. Tempeh is cake of soybeans, which have been de-hulled, cooked, mixed with a tempeh starter (culture of Rhizopus oligosporusor Rhizopus oryzae) and incubated for a day or two. The white mycelium of the Rhizopus mold keeps the soybeans together to form a solid cake, which you can easily sliced.
In Indonesia, tempeh is traditionally made from soy beans only, but in Western countries you can find tempeh made from other ingredients, such as vegetables, grains or other beans. Since tempeh is made from whole soybeans, it is a fiber-rich food. Tempeh is a rich source of proteins, minerals, soy isoflavones (53 mg isoflavones per 100g) and saponins. It is also a generous source of nutrients such as calcium, B-vitamins and iron. In addition, tempeh is a good source of monounsaturated fats and contains no cholesterol. The natural tempeh fermentation process also makes the soya more digestible. Good website with more information about tempeh.

Easy to make at home

It is very easy to make tempeh at home. If you like gardening (planting seeds, watching them growing and harvesting) you can achieve this process in only a few days! You will notice a big difference between homemade tempeh and store-bought tempeh: it tastes and smells a lot better. Fresh homemade tempeh smells like mushrooms, but after a few days storage in the fridge, the smell becomes a bit chemical. During tempeh production, you must add some acid, such as acetic acid, to the soybeans to prevent the growth of spoilage bacteria. In Indonesia, tempeh makers do not add this acid but let the soybeans acidify naturally in the soaking water.

Versatile ingredient

Tempeh has a tender chewy consistency that makes it an excellent addition to a variety of foods. The easiest way to prepare tempeh is to bake marinated slices of tempeh in a pan with of oil, until they becomes crisp and golden-brown. Tempeh is also delicious on the grill: first steam the tempeh cubes and marinate them in a barbecue sauce and then grill them until browned. You can add chunks of tempeh to spaghetti sauce or chilli mix or to your favourite soups and casseroles.


And what about the moulds in tempeh?

Are the moulds in tempeh toxic? Moulded food is generally considered as being very toxic. Also we are tolled not to eat too much moulded cheese. Is tempeh save?
Please give advice because I'm confused.

Sylvia Spencer - 25/10/2013


As far as we know, the moulds used in the production of tempeh, namely Rhizopus Oligosporus, do not produce toxins. The Japanese and the Indonesians have done a good bit of research to answer the obvious question of whether these products contain aflatoxins or other mould related carcinogens, which apparently they don't.

Toxins are produced by moulds such as Fusarium, Aspergillus and Penicillium.
The best known mould toxic is aflatoxin produced by Aspergillus flavus. These moulds are never used for tempeh production.

Moulds in tempeh have been shown to produce antibacterial compounds, which have a beneficial effect by preventing growth of other bacteria, and thereby increase food safety.

Rob - 21/11/2013


I am a graduated of Microbiology
I'm interested to know the methods of manufacturing the product...
Please Help me...
Thank you
meysam ebrahimi - 02/01/2014

Tempeh production

I am a graduated of Microbiology
I'm a small farmer having soyabean crop in my farm & interested to know the methods of manufacturing tempeh at small scale level...
Please Help me...
Thank you
Liladhar Patil - 10/02/2015

Production of Tempeh

About the production of Tempeh
Sherif G. - 23/06/2015

Dehulling the soya bean for making tempeh

I have been making tempeh for many years, but I feel bit hard to dehulling the soya bean especially in large quantity, do you know where I can get small home dehulling machine?
tawfiq - 25/12/2015

raw tempeh

Can I eat raw tempeh? Some tempeh producers say it is OK to eat raw tempeh, others say that you have to first cook raw tempeh. Very confusing!
Emanuele - 16/04/2016

No difference

I don't think there is much difference from store-bought tempe and homemade tempe , they taste and smell the same . I also see the store owner plant and make the tempe himself. I often help him too so even if it isn't homemade i think it's the same
monica - 14/07/2016

Add your comment


Email (optional)



Fill in anti-spam code 8169