Tempeh (or we call it TEMPE) is originated from Indonesia, almost every Indonesian love and enjoy tempeh or at least have tested tempeh. Nowadays tempeh is becoming more and more popular as a meat substitute enjoys by vegetarian and some people who eat less meat.
Indonesian enjoys tempeh almost everyday, the way they cook it varies. You can simply deep fry it, stir fry with some fresh chili, you can make curry and some other soups or you can enjoy it as a snack. Basically any dishes using meat you can make it with tempeh and even more I should say because Indonesian enjoy tempeh for a snack too, like crackers *yumm*.
Being away from home I sometimes insanely craving for tempeh, since tempeh is one of the food I am growing up with along with tofu and fish. I can only get frozen tempeh from Asian market and off course it doesn't taste like the fresh one, and on the other hand the tempeh from local store is not very satisfying either.
After doing some reading and blog walking, I am pretty much sure that what makes Indonesian tempeh different from local tempeh is the yiest or the tempeh starter. Good Indonesian tempe should be white in color (but a few black spot is considered normal), nutty and has a distinctive earthy flavor, and the texture is solid firm but not as firm as locals (or I should say western style) tempeh. But I am not gonna write about that right now, you can read more details HERE.
Back to the tempeh making, I never thought that I would ever make my own tempeh, never cross in my mind until a good friend of mine told me to bring some tempeh starter when I am back to Indonesia. And I did it just for the sake, but never touch it for a long time then it got expired. Back in my mind I always think making tempeh could be really difficult and complicated. Thanks God I go back to Indonesia pretty much every other year so I had a chance to get another batch of fresh tempeh starter.
After some hesitation I finally decided to try, I watched some videos of how to make tempeh on you tube. There are some differences in making tempeh, some are peeling the soy bean before they boil it, my friend is suggesting to boil it first after couple hours of soaking, that way it would be easier to peel since we do not have beans peeler (grinding machine). Some are using vinegar when they boil it, but I did not use it and the result is great, so I do not know what is the vinegar do. Will try to use it next time though!
So here are the step by step procedure in making tempeh at home:
- Soak the soy beans overnight and the beans should be enlarging by double size.
- Boil the beans until cook, so it would be easy to peel.
- Allow the soy beans to cool down (my friend suggested to let it sit overnight) then peel it completely, it is recommended to split it by squeezing it with a kneading motion. Make sure all the beans are peeled, so the starter can get trough and start the fermentation.
- Re-boil/cook the beans again until it gets really soft, it takes couple hours. (if you doubt you can taste it and if you think it's already soft like tempeh should be, you can stop the boiling process).
- Drain the beans and let it cool and dry.
- Spread the starter evenly and make sure the beans are dry when you spread the starter. Mix it with a clean spoon for about 1 minute to reduces the risk for spoilage and the fermentation will be faster
- Pack the soy bean in 1/2 lb size of plastic, the maximum of thickness is about 3 cm, then poke the plastic using a kabab skewer or clean nail.
- Store it in a warm dry place for up to 3 days then the tempe is ready.
- The approximately starter used for 1 kg of soy beans is 2 - 3 table spoon.