People trying to eat less meat: Is anyone else 'into' tempeh?
Some health food stores sell it, but believe me, it is much more delicious when you make it yourself and eat it fresh, or else freeze it. Looks more appetizing, too!
The Japanese eat tofu; Indonesians eat tempeh. It is one of the two great ways to take in soy protein.
Tempeh is a cheap, nutritious, and pretty easy to digest food made by innoculating dried soybeans (after boiling) with a special starter powder and incubating them in perforated ziploc bags in a cheap styrofoam container such as you might use for a picnic, for about 24 hours. It takes patience to make for the first time or so, but then you get so you can do it pretty easily. The resulting snowy white mycellium (a sort of beneficial mold) binds the beans together so well that you can pick up the bag of beans and they hold their shape just like a book. This you can slice or cube and cook in various ways.
Tempeh itself smells like fresh mushrooms and doesn't have much flavor, so it can be used in a lot of dishes. Think of it as having about as much taste as skinless chicken breasts. It can be cut the way you want it, frozen, and used later. Deep fry it sliced very thin, and dipped in a seasoned batter, or plain. Our favorite is to dip the slices in very salty water with some coriander and crushed garlic and then deep-fry it.) Use in stews, too, or pan fry and steam a square slice about 1/4" thick and use it instead of meat in a sandwich.
If anyone is interested, after much experimenting over the years, I have pretty sure-fire directions for the easiest way to make it and will be happy to email them to anyone who wants them. The starter is available rather cheaply by mail order from a place in Tennessee that started as a farm where a professor and some of his students wanted to live a communal and vegetarian life-style, if I remember correctly, and I think some of them are still living that way. The small packet of starter that I order lasts me for several years (kept in the fridge).
I first learned about tempeh from a great book called The Book of Tempeh, by the same authors as The Book of Tofu and The Book of Miso, all of which I have had for years and love. The Book of Tempeh has ,lots of both Indonesian and Western-style recipes.
Here is a link that might be useful: The Book of Tempeh