I recently had a go at making tempeh, a cultured and fermented bean ‘cake’, traditionally made with soy-beans.
Tempeh is cultured with a fungus called Rhizopus Oligosporus. It comes in a powdered form called ‘Tempeh Starter’ and is readily available on the internet – I got mine from eBay.
Originating from Indonesia, Tempeh is a great source of protein and probiotics! Its a brilliant substitute for meat if you are trying to cut down or live a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. The taste is a wonderful complex and nutty flavour that soaks up marinade extremely easily. I recently found that the type of bean you use can change the taste too!
Start by soaking 2 cup dried chickpeas overnight in water until they have doubled in size.
Rub the soaked chickpeas between your fingers to try and loosen off the hulls of the chickpeas. You don’t have to remove them from the water as they are a good source of fibre. However, do try and remove them from most of the chickpeas as if left on they can make it hard for the Starter to penetrate and culture the beans.
Next, boil the chickpeas until they become tender – just like if you were going to use them in any other recipe. Once boiled, pour out onto a clean tea-towel to cool.
Pop the chickpeas into a bowl and sprinkle 2 teaspoons of starter on top. MIX WELL. It’s crucial you try and cover every chickpea with the starter as it ensures the tempeh ferments evenly!
After you have coated all of the chickpeas, transfer them to a prepared ziplock bag or takeaway tub. To prepare, just poke holes through the top and bottoms of the container to allow for some airflow.
Make sure they are packed down well – but not too well. You don’t want it looking like a solid brick – it should have space for the Tempeh culture to bind the chickpeas together.
I used a tub as I had no bags available – however, after trying it this way I would definitely use a zip lock bag next time.
Place the bag or pot on a plate and in a warm, preferably dark, place where it wont be disturbed.
After 1-3 days, depending on how warm it is, your Tempeh will be fully cultured.
You will notice a soft white culture has grown in and around your chickpeas, binding them all together.
Do not worry if it looks a bit fuzzy (like mould) – Remember, the culture is a type of fungus!
Once the Tempeh cake is fully formed, transfer it to a fridge.
It will keep for 2-3 weeks in the fridge!
Try it marinated and fried.. or baked. It really is delicious.
(And, in my opinion, much better than the shop bought version!)
Good luck if you decide to try this out!
The Plant Path Folk x