Tempeh is an old Indonesian invention made from partially cooked soybeans fermented with a Rhizopus fungal culture that binds the beans into firm, chewy cakes or patties. Soybeans are by themselves a very detrimental source of proteins and nutrition due to a very high content of enzyme inhibitors and phytic acids that block the absorption of essential minerals and cause potential intestinal problems — however, thorough fermentation in the production of tempeh, miso and soy sauce removes both the inhibitors and phytates. The process of precipitation used to make tofu or bean curds, on the other hand, removes only some of the inhibitors and hardly any of the phytates, so these soy foods should be generally avoided. Through fermentation, however, tempeh becomes not only an excellent source of proteins but one of the best sources of vitamin B12 you can find — but only as long as it has been properly innoculated with the Rhizopus culture, so make sure to check the label. Look for it frozen or refrigerated in 8 or 12 oz packages in natural food stores.
Apart from the benefits of good quality tempeh, it is a wonderfully versatile food to cook with that can be fried, baked or boiled and can be combined with any kind of seasoning or vegetable. This fried breakfast hash, adapted from a suggestion in Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Café, is a simple and very satisfying way to start your day.
|Tempeh Breakfast Hash-Up|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Adapted from Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Café
Published on May 1, 2007
Simple, nutritious and filling zesty breakfast hash made with tempeh