Many Indonesians casually buy their 3-5k IDR brick of tempeh wrapped in banana leaves as an ordinary base ingredient for many local dishes. Little do they know, in the western world, the ones who are aware of it, worship it as a true superfood with versatile culinary uses and are happy to pay 20-30 times as much for the same white brick. Indonesianís can take pride in this affordable, staple food that promotes peopleís health across the globe. Letís take a look at what makes Indonesian tempeh so special and why beats tofu in many ways.
Tempeh vs Tofu
Just like tofu, tempeh is typically made from soybeans; however, it is much less processed than tofu and as such can be considered a whole food. Thus, it should be a staple for anyone health-conscious enough to follow a whole food plant-based diet. Due to its fermentation process and the fact that the entire bean is kept intact, tempeh boasts a higher content of dietary fibre, vitamins and protein.
A complete protein that satisfies
While tofu is often praised as an excellent protein source for vegan athletes, it only contains around 40% of the protein, tempeh has. One cup of tempeh (166g) contains 31 grams of protein. Tempeh does not just provide a lot of protein, it is also a complete protein: It contains all nine essential amino acids your body needs (and canít synthesise itself). Thus, whether youíre an athlete or not, tempeh is an unmatched, nutrient-dense bang for your buck! One study derived at the conclusion, that high-protein soy snacks, improved satiety, appetite and diet quality compared to high-fat snacks.
Prebiotics are much-needed
Thanks to its unique fungal fermentation process, tempeh is rich in prebiotics. Prebiotics are a type of fibre that helps beneficial bacteria thrive in your digestive system. They increase the formation of short-chain fatty acids in the colon. One such fatty acid is butyrate, which is the main source of energy for cells lining your colon. As some may know, indulging in copious amounts of tempeh boosts your digestion a little too well!
One does not have to rely on soybeans!
Environmentally conscious vegans may be hesitant to source tempeh or soybean that was shipped from across the world. They will be glad to know that tempeh can be easily made from all kinds of legumes, seeds or grains locally available to them. Whether thatís kidney beans, sunflower seeds, mountain lentils, chickpeas, black beans, wheat or a mixture of all of those!
Photo by Ella Olsson on Unsplash