Like pasta for most people, tempeh is becoming for me one of those ready-to-cook ingredients that I like to keep on hand just for those occasions when I have nothing particular planned and need to throw together a fast and easy meal. But while it shares with pasta a versatility that can pair it with all kinds of sauces and seasonings, the traditional Indonesian fermented soybean product has the advantage of being rich in proteins.
These crispy but chewy nutty little tempeh wafers in a tangy tomato glaze — an Indonesian recipe that comes from my valued copy of Celia Brooks-Brown's World Vegetarian Classics — take hardly any more time and effort than making a pot of macaroni and cheese, and are irresistibly delicious. Serve with some carbohydrates in the form of rice and some vegetables and you have a simple, tasty and complete meal.
Of course, as I like to remind my readers, the benefits of tempeh or any soy product can only be realized by finding brands that properly ferment the otherwise harmful soybeans — one of the most indigestible of all legumes because of their very high content of enzyme inhibitors and phytic acids which actually block the absorption of essential minerals and cause potential intestinal problems. Unfortunately, this rules out almost all tofu and soy milk products — in Western countries, these are almost universally manufactured through modern non-fermentation production methods that remove only some of the inhibitors and hardly any of the phytates, and denature the very proteins that are supposed to be of benefit in the first place. Tempeh, however, is more often than not produced through fermentation, but buyers should also look for a brand that properly inoculates the soy with Rhizopus culture and that is neither pasteurized nor pre-cooked. For Canadian readers, the tempeh from the Noble Bean is an excellent product.
|Oseng Oseng Tempe|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
From World Vegetarian Classics: Over 220 Essential International Recipes for the Modern Kitchen
Cuisine: Southeast Asian
Published on May 23, 2008
Chewy and nutty tempeh fried until crispy and coated with a tangy and spicy tomato glaze — an extraordinary and delicious simple light lunch or side dish