After several years of making my own tempeh, I have been able to improve the process
into a much less laborious one with equally satisfying result. First thing is to get good quality organic
and non-gmo soybeans. Good quality soy beans not only means
it is much better for your body but it also cooks better
and tastes more creamy. I am starting with 2 cups of soybeans that
I have soaked overnight or for at least eight hours. Once soaked drain all the water. You
may keep this water for the plants. This water is not good for us but it’s a good source
of nutrients for the plants. This is better used for outdoor plants rather than indoor
ones as the liquid might smell after a day or so.
One thing that I do differently now is that I do not dehull the beans. When I first started
to make tempeh, I used to dehull the beans by hand by massaging them into the water until
the hulls would float up. Then pour them out and keep doing this until most of the beans
are dehulled. But this is very time consuming and as it turns out, a rather unnecessary
process as I’ve made successful tempeh even without dehulling the beans.
So now, I just rinse off the beans a couple of times with fresh water and place them in
a large pot. Then fill the pot with fresh water to cover the beans so that the water
level comes to about an inch above them. Cover and cook on medium heat.
The reason why I also no longer dehull the beans is that I have noticed that they take a whole
lot longer to boil. Whereas when the hulls are left on, the beans become much softer
and creamier. Keep an eye on the pot and if the water starts
to boil over, place the lid at a slight angle to let more of the steam escape. Then lower
the heat. Once the excess steam has gone down, you can cover the pot again. Also check for
the water level every now and then. Check the beans for doneness as from 30 minutes.
Add more water if needed to cook the beans for longer. Soybeans may take from 30 minutes
to one hour to cook. Cook the beans until they are almost done
or to about 80% done. Then add in the vinegar. Continue to cook the beans until they are
soft but not mushy. I add the vinegar at the last stage of cooking
as when vinegar is added at the beginning, I’ve noticed that the acidity considerably
slows down the cooking process. I guess if you are using a pressure cooker, you can add
the vinegar right at the start. The vinegar is needed to provide a slightly
acidic environment that favours the growth of the mould. The good thing about making tempeh at home
is that you can cook the beans to the doneness that you like them. I usually cook the beans to the softness that I usually consume them. This results in a smooth and creamy texture; something that you will not get
with most store-bought tempeh. Once the beans are cooked, drain off most of the water. Then, return the beans onto
the heat and evaporate the remaining liquid from the pot.
Allow the beans to cool to about 35°Celsius (or 95°Fahrenheit).
Next, we are going to add in the rhizopus mould which is the tempeh starter. I buy mine
online. I’ll leave you some links below from where you can get it. If you want to
have tempeh without any black spots, make sure to get a good quality starter. Although
if you do get black spots, the tempeh is perfectly safe to eat. It is just the life cycle of
the mould that has aged a little bit more. Once beans are cooled to about 35°Celsius,
add in the mould and mix well. There are three ways that you can allow the
beans to ferment. A zip lock bag is the most convenient one. Perforate the bag at an inch
interval all over using a bamboo or metal skewer. This will allow the mould to breathe. Decide on the number of portions
you want to make and place a portion of the beans inside. Then close the bag and fold it if needed
to reduce the size so that you have a nice thickness
for the beans. Then evenly distribute the beans around. If you use a good quality zip
lock bag, you can actually re-use it several times before it wears out.
A more environmentally-friendly alternative to plastic is to use banana leaves which are
also the traditional way of making tempeh. I get frozen banana leaves from my local Asian
store. Cut the leaf to the size you need. Banana leaves are porous so they do not need
any perforations. Place some beans in the middle and lightly shape them to a rectangle.
Then fold the leaf over and secure with a toothpick. I only placed a small portion of
beans for today but what I tend to do is to place a larger amount and make a longer log.
Once the tempeh cake is formed, then I just cut through the leaf itself and store the
smaller portions. Sandwich the bags or wrapped leaves in between
two chopping boards and keep in a warm place. If you have an incubator, you may place them
in there overnight or you can leave them in the oven with only the lights turned on. Just
remember not to turn the oven on by accident and to remove them from there
or the incubator after 12 hours. During winter, if you have the radiator on,
you just can place them close by. What I have also found to work is to just
place the beans in a glass or ceramic dish. Then place the dish uncovered in a closed
large box. I have one of those cake boxes with a lid that seem to work great for that
purpose. Otherwise, you can just use any large box with a lid. Just keep the box in a warm
area of the house. After 36 to 48 hours, the tempeh should be
ready. The mould should be fully grown around the beans holding them together. For the wrapped leaf, you should be
able to see some spores through the cracks of the leaf, so you’ll
know that the mould have grown and the tempeh is ready.
For the one in the dish the spores may tend to go a little out of control with this method.
Also, the resulting tempeh is a little less compact and drier than when using a bag or
wrapped leaf. But the tempeh cake still holds together well. Make sure to thoroughly wash
the box afterward to clean it of all remaining spores.
Tempeh can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week or it can be frozen for several
months. I usually make tempeh twice a year and freeze the batch for over 6 months.
Apart from soybeans, tempeh can also be made with other beans, legumes, grains, or a mixture
of these along with some seeds added in for extra nutrients, taste and texture. You can
make tempeh with chickpeas or lentils for a soy-free option for example.
If you make soymilk or tofu at home, a good way to use up the okara, that is the leftover
soy pulp, is to make tempeh with it. This works out to be very economical. In fact,
this is how tempeh was discovered in Java, Indonesia, during the production of tofu when
the discarded soybean pulp caught the spores and grew around the pulp. It was found to
be edible and tempeh was born. If using okara, you would just add a quarter
of the amount of vinegar to the warm pulp. Then mix in the mould and proceed as for the
rest of the recipe. Tempeh offers a much more nutritious and digestible
way to eat soy if you are not intolerant or allergic.
The fermentation process reduces the phytic acid in the soy and this allows the body to
better absorb the minerals. The gas causing substances are also considerably reduced by
the rhizopus mould. Tempeh has to be properly cooked before consuming. It can be steamed or boiled,
marinated and pan fried or used according to your favourite recipes. I hope you’ve enjoyed this video. Don’t forget to give it a thumbs up. And if you
attempt your own tempeh, share a picture with us and tag us on social media @veganlovlie.
Enjoy and see you soon.