Tempeh is a soy food that was thought to have come from Indonesia a long time ago. The word “tempeh” was used for the first time in a Javanese history book at the beginning of the 19th century. Since the 1970s, when it became easy to get in the West, tempeh is often used in vegetarian and vegan cooking instead of meat.
What is Tempeh?
Tempeh is made from cooked and slightly fermented soybeans and looks like a cake. This process breaks down the soybeans’ phytic acid, making it easier to digest the starches in tempeh. After the soybeans have been fermented, they are shaped into a patty or a block like a very firm veggie burger.
Tempeh is made from soybeans that have been pressed together and fermented. It comes from Indonesia, and the white stuff you see is the healthy mold that makes the fermentation happen. Even though tempeh and tofu are made from soybeans, they are not the same. Most importantly, tofu is not fermented like tempeh, which gives it a milder taste. Soymilk curds are ground up and then pressed into a block to make tofu.
How to Make Vegan Tempeh Chili?
Try substituting tempeh for tofu in a stir-fry. You can add it to soups or meatless chili in place of ground beef by breaking it up, chopping it finely, or even grating it with a cheese grater. You can bake it in a casserole, fry it, or cook it on the grill to give it a nice crisp edge. Because tempeh is so firm, you can’t cut it more than 3/4 of an inch thick for slabs or cubes.
Before you cook with or add tempeh to a dish, many recipes say to soften it first. Most of the time, it needs to steam or simmer for about 10 minutes. Even though you can eat it right out of the package, this process makes it taste better and help it soak up seasonings and sauces.
Homemade vegetarian chili with tempeh and beans means this chili recipe packs a powerful protein boost and has a satisfying texture. Since the tempeh simmers so long in this recipe, there’s no need to pre-simmer it, as with most tempeh recipes.
Note that this recipe is not gluten-free because it calls for soy sauce. Further, some types of tempeh are made from grains that include gluten, while other varieties are gluten-free. Swap out the soy sauce and ensure your tempeh is gluten-free if preparing this chili for anyone with wheat or gluten sensitivity.