Food Lifestyle World

Tempting Tempeh (A.K.A. Fermented Soybean Cake)

Chef Jeff
Written by Chef Jeff

Tempeh is originally from Indonesia (the island of Java) and known since the 16th century. Tempeh is no longer considered just ‘poor man’s food,’ it is consumed by all walks of life and part of Indonesia’s national menu. In the west Tempeh wins more ground as meat substitute.

Why Tempeh?

Tempeh flavor and texture have been described as nutty and mushroom flavor and firm texture like meat. Incorporate this soy product into your recipes. You can bake, deep-fry, broil, braise, grill or steam it. When you add your own seasoning, it will easily accept the flavors you add to it.

Oh, and on top of that, Tempeh is nutritious; it is rich in protein with 15 grams in half a cup. Tempeh scores a 9 on the glycemic index, where 250 is the highest value, so kind for you sugar level. It’s also high in folic acids, good for pregnant women and contains a reasonable amount of calcium. There you go! I say, use Tempeh more and serve with pride and try and share my two recipes.


A vegetarian and yet meaty tasting burger. Made with a traditional soy product from Indonesia. Treacherously tasty!


  • 1 block (400 gr) tempeh
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 120 g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp. vinegar
  • ½ tsp. coriander powder
  • ½ tsp. cumin powder
  • 50 g of wheat flour
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • oil for frying
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 8 leaves curly endive


  1. Steam the Tempeh for 15 minutes in a steamer. Set aside and let cool. Fry the onion in oil until translucent. Add the garlic and the mushrooms and stirfry for 2 minutes. Add vinegar, coriander and cumin and cook further for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
  2. Crumble the steamed tempeh with your fingers above a bowl. Add spice paste, wheat flour and 1tablespoon oil and mix well. Make four burger patties. Heat some oil in a frying pan and put on medium heat. Cook the burgers until golden brown, about 6 minutes per side.
  3. Put some lettuce leaves on the lower half of a hamburger bun, top with a tempeh burger, then a few slices of tomato, avocado and 2 leaves of curly endive. Serve with some garlic chili sauce.




  • 1 block tempeh
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 red chilies, thinly sliced diagonally
  • 1/2 tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • salt to taste
  • 2 inch piece of laos (galangal root)
  • 2 salam leaves
  • kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 1 tsp. terasi (Indonesian shrimp paste)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil


  1. Cut the block tempeh
  2. into thin slices. Then into thin strips. Sprinkle some salt over it.
  3. Fry the tempeh in batches over medium-high heat in 1/3 cup oil until golden brown. Then drain on paper towel and set aside.
  4. Add oil in a wok and heat it well. Fry the crumbled terasi briefly.
  5. Add the onion, sugar, chili, garlic and stir. Add Laos and salam and stir some more. Then add the tomato and salt to taste.
  6. Continue cooking paste until fragrant, for 11 to 13 minutes. Stir in the tempeh and a dash of kecap manis.
  7. Serve with steamed white rice and slices of cucumber or sweet and sour salad.

Tip: you can also stir in deep fried shallots.

About the author

Chef Jeff

Chef Jeff