The flavor of tempeh is stronger than tofu, but it still works well with a multitude of flavors and cuisines, and is a great option for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. Tempeh (pronounced TEHM-pay) is made by a simple process—hull soybeans, crack and boil them, and then introduce a starter bacteria that ferments the soybean mixture. The result is a pebbled, buff-colored soybean cake. That minimal processing helps tempeh retain many of the nutritional properties related to soybeans, such as high quality protein, fiber, and calcium, and it can also provide significant amounts of iron. Tempeh has an assertive flavor. It obtains much of its nutty, subtle, tangy flavor from the fermentation process. When the temperature changes, the bacteria present in tempeh may cause small patches of gray or black spores to bloom on the surface of the cake. These spores are harmless and only add to tempeh’s unique yeasty flavor.

July 14, 2011