What is tempeh? To put it very simply, it’s a close cousin of tofu. It is a traditional soy product native to Indonesia and is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form, similar to a very firm vegetarian burger patty. However, it differs from tofu in a few fundamental ways:
1. Mode of preparation
Tofu is made by curdling fresh, hot soy milk with a coagulant. Tempeh, on the other hand, is made by fermenting cooked soybeans with a mold.
2. Texture and consistency
Tofu tends to be soft, smooth, and spongy, but tempeh, on the other hand, is firm and chewy.
Tofu is white, smooth and wet, but tempeh is brownish in color and dry and one can see whole soybeans in it.
Tofu is best compared to a sponge – it has hardly any taste on its own, but when added to recipes, takes on the flavor of whatever you’re making. Tempeh, on the other hand, has a slight earthy, sweet taste.
5. How it’s sold
Tofu is usually sold in five-inch-size blocks, but tempeh is sold in flat rectangular pieces about eight inches long.
Tempeh has a slightly higher calorie count than tofu, but tempeh is less processed than tofu, and it’s healthier in general because it contains more protein and fiber. It’s a tastier option that’s a hit with vegetarians and non – vegetarians alike. It can be found at most health food stores. Go ahead and give tempeh a try!