Tempeh You Say?

Okay. I intended to write this post some time ago but it turns out I suck at blogging. My web designer warned me about maintaining a blog and here I am, dropping the ball already. I’ll try to be more frequent with the posts from here on in. No promises though.

The next couple of entries will focus on ingredients that may not be too familiar to those who eat the meat. First up is tempeh. I am aware that I’m not unveiling some crazy new thing here. The vegans and vegetarians have known about this for ages and most who don’t partake have probably seen it in that little fake meat section that most supermarkets have now. It is hardly a “fake meat” though. It has been a staple in Indonesia for years and when done right can be quite delightful indeed. It’s basically a fermented soybean cake. I know. Sounds delicious, right? Here’s an excerpt from the website whfoods.com that may explain it better.

Tempeh is a wonderful, high protein, southeastern Asian treat. Not only does this collaged cake of fermented soybeans have a distinctive nutty taste but its nougatlike texture readily absorbs the different flavorings with which it is cooked. Tempeh is typically made by cooking and dehulling soybeans, inoculating them with a culturing agent (like Rhizopus oligosporus), and then incubating the innoculated product overnight until it forms a solid cake.

Full disclosure here. I was not a fan for a long time. Turns out I was doing it wrong. I would just toss it in a pan with some seasoning and it was never very impressive. It took a trip to Indonesia for that a-ha moment. I was taken to a vegetarian restaurant literally down a trail, on the side of a cliff in Bali (see pic). Staffed by one woman who prepared everything to order in her tiny kitchen. I existed on Nasi Goreng while there. Rice is a big deal in Indonesia and this is basically their fried rice. She prepared a version of that dish with tempeh and it was amazing. I don’t know exactly what kind of magic she performed on it but it was enough to make me change my tune on tempeh. Once I got home I started to incorporate it into my diet more. Tempeh, like tofu, is very good at taking on the flavor of whatever you marinate or cook it in. The version I will be serving on the truck is marinated in light beer, garlic, lime, cumin, oregano and a few other awesome things.

Because I am lazy and hate sitting behind a computer screen for too long I am just going to post a link to an article on whfoods.com that has way more info about the many health benefits etc. Trust me. Tempeh tastes great, is high in protein and you’re gonna love it.

Next up…What the hell is seitan!?

For more on tempeh- http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=126

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