Tempeh is the staple food of Indonesia, which is gradually gaining popularity all around the world, for its distinct nutty taste and nougat-like texture. It is made by cooking soybeans, followed by inoculation using a culturing agent like Rhizophuz oligosporus. Finally, the product is incubated overnight, so that it turns into a solid cake. It can be conveniently cooked with a number of dishes, as it easily mixes with the flavor of other foods. Tempeh is a highly nutritious food rich in protein, which has been the traditional cuisine of Indonesia for more than 2000 years. Today, it is widely available throughout the year. The Dutch were the ones who introduced it in Europe. In the 20th century, the food was known to United States as well. Tempeh is extremely rich in protein, fiber and vitamins and is considered as an alternative for meat in vegetarian cuisine. We bring you the health benefits of Tempeh in the lines below.
Health Benefits Of Eating Tempeh
- Tempeh is a rich source of proteins. The proteins in tempeh have the additional benefit of lowering cholesterol level, unlike the protein from animal sources, which raise the cholesterol level of a person. Thus, tempeh is an excellent alternative to meat.
- Tempeh contains magnesium, which plays a vital role in cardiovascular system and in more than 300 enzymatic reactions. Magnesium is also necessary for the reactions like the control of protein synthesis and energy production.
- Tempeh helps in preventing heart diseases. It reduces the cholesterol level and hence, lowers the risk of heart attack or stroke.
- Tempeh also raises the HDL cholesterol levels. HDL cholesterol passes through the body and collects the cholesterols in the arteries to be disposed off by the liver. Tempeh can even lower LDL cholesterol levels, apart from raising HDL.
- Tempeh, like other Soy food, is rich in dietary fiber, which binds fats and cholesterol and prevents their rapid absorption. Also, the dietary fiber binds the bile salts and helps throw them out of the body. As it disposes the bile, liver is stimulated to convert more cholesterol into bile salts, thereby lowering the cholesterol level in the body considerably.
- The fiber present in tempeh lowers the risk of colon cancer, by being able to bind the cancer-causing toxins. It is also preventative against some other cancers, like breast cancer.
- Tempeh is also helpful in treating menopausal symptoms. The isoflavones present in tempeh bind to the estrogen receptors and provide relief from the uncomfortable symptoms associated with the decline of natural estrogen. Also, it helps reduce the bone loss that generally follows menopause.
- Tempeh contains a good amount of the trace minerals, like manganese and copper. These minerals play an important role in numerous physiological functions. They are also the cofactors for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase.
- Tempeh has a rich content of riboflavin, which is the nutrient required for the transfer reactions that act to produce energy for the mitochondria. Riboflavin is again the cofactor for the regeneration of glutathione.
- Tempeh contains genistein, which plays a significant role in lowering the risk of prostate cancer in men.
- Tempeh is an extremely healthy food for people suffering from diabetes. Its properties to lower cholesterol and blood sugar level prove helpful for diabetic patients. Also, tempeh lowers the triglyceride levels in diabetic patients.
- Tempeh can cause allergic reactions in some people.
- Tempeh contains a small amount of oxalates, which if accumulated, can cause several health problems. Because of this, people suffering from kidney and gall bladder problems should avoid eating tempeh.
- To make tempeh, you will need soya beans, few tablespoons of vinegar and tempeh starters like Rhyzopus oryzae or Rhizopus oligosporus.
- Soak the beans for 8-14 hours in water. Take away the hulls by hand and you will see that the beans split into two. Throw away the seed coats.
- Cook the seeds for 15-20 minutes. Drain the water and keep the cooked beans in a dry towel.
- The beans should become absolutely dry; otherwise undesirable bacteria will grow on them and produce bad flavors.
- Place the dried and cool beans in a clean container and put a teaspoon of tempeh starter on them. Mix properly.
- Now place the beans in a plastic bag, perforated with holes at equal distance.
- Press the beans hard, so that their total thickness is not more than 3 cm.
- Keep the beans in an incubator, while wrapped in the plastic, at a temperature of 30°C. You can also keep them at any warm place for a day or two or till you see the plastic completely filled with white mycelium.
- Take out the tempeh when you see that it can be picked up as one piece.
- The fresh tempeh will be warm and carrya pleasant mushroom flavor.
- You can store tempeh in the refrigerator, for around ten days. However, if you keep it in the freezer, it can stay for a few months.