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What Is Tempeh and How do you Cook It?

What Is Tempeh and How do you Cook It?

Last Updated on 22nd April 2022 by

Tempeh is an Indonesian food made from soybeans, and it is often formed into a meat-like dish. A fungus is used to help ferment the tempeh, giving it a distinctive flavor.

What is tempeh? If you aren’t familiar with this food, you should know that it shares a lot of similarities with tofu and other soy products.

Tempeh is often used as a meat substitute, and you may be able to prepare it in such a way that someone who eats meat might not be able to tell the difference when they eat tempeh instead- not to trick them, but to give them a vegan alternative.

What Is Tempeh Made of?

This is a processed soy product that contains a lot of protein. The soybeans are fermented then compact and compressed to form a cake. Sometimes, tempeh may contain rice, flax, or other grains.

You can cook tempeh in a lot of different ways, and it is typically used as a substitute for meat products.

What Does Tempeh Taste Like?

Tempeh makes a good alternative to meat because of its chewy texture and earthy taste. It has a little bit of a nutty flavor to it, and it’s very similar to mushrooms.

Anyone who’s done a lot of vegan or vegetarian cooking knows that mushrooms work well in place of meat because of a similar taste and texture profile and because both meat and mushrooms are chewy. The same goes for tempeh.

Tempeh is actually very protein rich and can have as much protein as a similar piece of meat. So, if you are looking for a dietary meat substitute, tempeh is worth a look.

How to Cook Tempeh


  • 250 grams of soybean cake (tempeh)
  • 75 grams of shrimp, chopped
  • One clove of minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons of butter


  1. Slice the tempeh into cubes that are about 1/2 inch thick. Allow them to steam for 20 minutes, and then mash them down using a fork.
  2. Add to the tempeh your garlic, salt, white pepper, shrimp, cornstarch, sugar, and nutmeg. Mix everything together and divide into four patties.
  3. Put the butter into a frying pan and heat it until it melts. Then, add the 10 patties and cook on each side for about 4 minutes. The first side may take about 5 minutes to cook, whereas the second side could take as little as 3 minutes.

This method for how to make tempeh uses a number of herbs and spices, but you can use a different recipe and get similar results. It should still have the same texture as this recipe bit a different taste based on whatever spices you are using.

How to Bake Tempeh

If you’re looking for a healthier way to eat your tempeh, you don’t have to fry it up in a pan. Instead, you can learn a method for how to prepare tempeh that uses the oven. Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and then lining a baking tray in preparation for the tempeh.

You can just rest your tempeh pieces on the baking tray, seasoning them however you like, and then popping them in the oven for 25 minutes. They can be eaten as soon as they come out.

Make sure there’s enough space between each of the pieces for them to cook evenly and don’t let them overlap onto one another.

How to Steam Tempeh

A lot of people prefer to steam their tempeh before they cook it up in the oven or in a frying pan. The reason for that is that steaming removes a lot of the bitterness.

Ideally, you’ll use a steamer basket for this, placing the tempeh into the basket in a saucepan and then cover the tempeh with a few inches of water. Heat the water to a boil, then cover your pan with a lid and allow the tempeh to steam for about 15 minutes.

How to Cook Tempeh on Stove

You can heat tempeh using oil rather than butter and make it part of a larger dish, like a stir fry or a medley. First, put a little cooking oil into a pan. Any kind of cooking oil works.

Heat up the oil, when it’s hot you can add your tempeh. On medium heat, cook the tempeh, turning it so it browns on all sides. That should take about 5 minutes in total.

This method for how to prepare tempeh is one of the fastest and easiest ways, and you can use a low-fat, healthy cooking oil to make your meal healthier.

Consider mixing the tempeh with some sauce, seasoning, or flavorful foods to keep it from being too bland.

How to Season Tempeh

What to do with temper to make sure it’s not too boring to eat? You’ll need to season it a little bit. A little salt and black pepper go a long way, but it won’t hurt to add a sauce.

Something as simple as ketchup can make a big difference, and barbecue sauce works as well, especially if you’re going for a meat flavor with the tempeh.

If you’re making it a stir fry or other Asian style dish, consider using teriyaki sauce or soy sauce to flavor this food.

A lot of the same seasonings that you would use to flavor steak or chicken will complement the tempeh very well too. Tempeh is often seasoned with garlic, onion, ginger, parsley, or oregano to help the bland food become more flavorful.

It can be used much like you would use any meat or mushroom in your dishes, giving them a similar texture. It’s up to you to supply the flavor, so look for recipes that add a lot of flavor and do the work the tempeh cannot in making your dish a delight.

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I'm Pauline, a mother of four grown children, my passion for cooking stemmed from the joy i get cooking for my family. I love to try new dishes, especially when dining out but creating and sharing my own recipes is my favourite thing to do!