Sunday, 6 February 2011

Tempeh, tempeh

Tempeh or tempe is a popular fermented soy cake. It has been eaten for hundreds of years in South East Asia, particularly in countries like Indonesia where dishes like Tempe Bacem and Oseng-Oseng are popular. However, in the West tempeh has become a vegetarian and vegan substitute for meat.

I've had sliced tempeh a number of time, normally as part of a veggie breakfast. It has a light yeasty-mushroom flavour. I have to admit I have never really liked it. I have found the texture from the soy beans a little too bumpy and bobbly, but I could still eat it. Unlike D, who would push it to the side of his breakfast plate, the way some people push 'black pudding' off their breakfast plate. He had firmly decided that he did not like it at all. So its not something that features in my cooking.

Last year though when I was in Nairn, looking for something to snack on for lunch I stumbled upon an independent health store and cafe called Sky Delights. On its shelves I noticed some tempeh in glass jars. It was not a brand I was familiar with. The tempeh was whole and looked a lot more substantial. I actually ended up purchasing a couple of jars willing to give tempeh another try. Since then, the jar has been in the cupboard - fortunately still in date.
Upon purchasing these jars, I had a number of recipes I want to try with tempeh, but first I wanted to give it the 'taste test'. I decided to keep it simple and made tempeh hash browns for brunch. For those of you who have been reading for a while, will note that Hash browns in various guises have been featuring quite heavily on my blog recently, what can I can - I think I am in need of some comfort eating.

Well the Tempeh hash browns were a hit. Even D who had in the past pushed the tempeh to the side was tucking in big time. The texture of the tempeh was not like those I've had in the past. I also liked the fact it kept its shape well. Serve with beans, tomatoes and a fried egg if you wish with a good dollop of brown sauce.
Tempeh hash browns
Serves 2 with accompaniments
2 medium potatoes, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely sliced
Enough tempeh for 2, cut into ½ inch cubes (sorry I don't remember how much weight)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Cover the potatoes with water in a pot and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain well.
In a frying pan, saute the onions until translucent, then add in the potatoes and tempeh in olive oil, stirring frequently to cook all sides of the potato and tempeh cubes. When brown enough, add the soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste.


  1. This is first time I even heard of Tempeh! Your hash looks and sounds wonderful, thank you for sharing :)

  2. Oh Thanks Mateja.
    I'd say if you see some, do give it a try.

  3. hmm. i just bought it for the first time last week and no matter how i seasoned it, it didn't do it for me.

    on a side note, i tried black pudding at the b&b when i was in scotland and had no complaints...

  4. Hello chuck!
    I love the flavour of tempeh, but hardly ever cook it (as most of the things I make are quite strongly flavoured, and it seems a shame to swamp that lovely earthy flavour), but this looks delicious! (I would also be tempted to add some kale or shredded cabbage. My other half would probably prefer a tin of baked beans!)
    Hope you're keeping well, dear friend!

  5. Hi there EcoGrrl.
    I totally understand where you are coming from, I guess the trick is to find ways you like eating it - its taken me time, but I think this is one way I'll make it again, I have some other recipes to try too, that may work or may not.

    Everyones different, so I'm pleased for you that you had no complaints of the black pudding. I found the veggie version very powdery.

  6. Hi there dear littleblackfox.
    I was thinking of your recently. I came by and saw your seedy give-away, hope you get lots of takers. I would have been one of them, especially as they are beautifully crafted brown packets, but have my own seeds from last year and those that you sent me. x

    I'm not surprised that you like tempeh :)
    and appreciate how you cook with it when you do.
    I do like your suggestion to add some kale or shredded cabbage. I may do that for a more substantial meal, without the tin of baked beans, of course ;)

  7. I am not a huge fan of tempeh but I did love it in a corn soup late last year - though it calls for tinned creamed corn which I don't think is easy to find in the uk. I think tempeh and potato would go well together so maybe will try the hash brown

  8. Thanks Johanna.
    I think you'll like this version.
    Mmm...Creamed corn soup with tempeh - I have to say 'creamed corn' doesn't appeal to me at all, but I think D would enjoy it.


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