So, what exactly is tempeh?
It's the world's best kept protein secret! Put simply, tempeh (pronounced tem-pay) fermentation takes any legume, nut, grain or seed (it’s typically made using soybeans) and transforms them into an even better food source.
Tempeh fermentation is a totally natural process and only involves adding a fungal starter culture (it’s much less scary than it sounds - just a 100% natural organism that kicks off the fermentation process) to the selected legumes, nuts, grains or seeds, and popping them somewhere warm and humid. Through the fermentation process, they bind into a meaty block that’s super high in protein and fibre, naturally gluten-free and filled with lots of gut-friendly bacteria. What's more, tempeh is totally plant-based and planet friendly - what's not to love?
This process of tempeh fermentation originated in Indonesia on the island of Java over 300 years ago. Tempeh has been a common food in Indonesia ever since and acts as a vital protein source for many Indonesian communities. Having said this, as it’s typically sold in fruit carts on the side of the road simply wrapped in banana leaves (as seen above right), a lot of Indonesians often perceive it as quite low-quality, ‘dirty’ food. They don’t appreciate it as the game-changing and delicious protein source we know and love. We’re working with our charity partner, the Indonesian Tempe Movement, to help educate people in Indonesia on the power of tempeh, as well improving accessibility to it. This is just one of the many reasons we want to bring tempeh to the mainstream, to help Indonesians and the rest of the world alike really celebrate this amazing food and what it can offer.
If you need yet another reason to try out tempeh, it’s also super easy to cook with! You can fry it, steam it, bake it - basically whatever you can do with meat. While tempeh itself has its own nutty flavour, it also takes on other flavours really well. Our favourite way to cook our tempeh is to season, sizzle and serve! We usually fry it with some Kecap Manis (a sweet soy sauce from Indonesia that can be found in most major UK retailers), chilli, lemongrass and roasted peanuts and voila, in less than 5 mins we have a super tasty, protein-rich meal to enjoy!
We’ll be launching our delicious tempeh products very soon, so keep your eyes peeled to try the tastiness for yourselves!