How to Cook with Tempe

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By Nurie Sejahtera,

If you are looking for a tasty vegetarian alternative to meat that is high in protein, magnesium and B vitamins, try tempe. A longtime staple in Indonesia, tempe is made by inoculating cooked soybeans with a mold culture that transforms the beans into blocks of tempeh. Tempe’s nutty flavor and meaty texture makes it adaptable to many types of dishes including your favorite comfort foods. Here are a few simple ways to enjoy tempe.



    • Slice the tempeh into 1/2-inch strips and coat in beer batter before deep-frying till crisp and golden. Or dredge the tempeh slices in flour, salt and pepper before frying. Serve with cole slaw, french fries or your favorite sides. The fried tempeh can also be rolled in warm tortillas and eaten taco-style, doused with salsa, guacamole and sour cream.

    • Marinated

      Give your tempe easy “oomph” with marinades. Use your favorite marinade (either store bought or homemade), and let the tempeh slices soak for at least 30 minutes. Drain the tempeh and sautee on a hot skillet in oil until the tempeh is golden around the edges. Serve atop steamed rice or noodles. For a low-fat version, bake the tempeh in a greased casserole dish.

      If you’re pressed for time, find pre marinated tempeh in the refrigerated section of most health food stores. Try many different brands and flavors until you find one that you like.

    • Crumbled

      Crumbling the tempeh gives it a texture that resembles ground meat. Throw it in your tomato sauce when you’re making spaghetti. Try it in chili, or use it to replace the meat in your favorite sloppy joe sandwiches. Use it as a part of the filling for shepherd’s pie. Mix the crumbled tempeh with mayonnaise, chopped celery, onions and pickles for a faux chicken or tuna sandwich filling. Be as creative as you like—the possibilities for cooking with tempeh are endless.


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