The not so Jawa tempeh

I saw some fresh made tempehs at Abg Din’s stall last Sunday. I was like a kid in a sweet shop. But when I got the 4 white babes back home, darling hubby just gave me a snigger. “You going to eat that all by yourself?” I said “YES!”.

Darling hubby hates tempehs. He says it’s a typical JAWA fix that all JAWAs must have once in a while to fill up the JAWA needs in their system.

So I wrote this to prove to him it’s not JUST a JAWA thang. Well maybe it originated in the Javanese Island but my dad grew up on tempeh and it got him places…and the dish tempeh HAS gone places mind you.

Hubby continue to snigger…(you know the Ernie Sesame Street kind of sniggering?)

*Later that night in front of the pc

“I wanna show you something” I pointed at the screen and showed him the below pic.

Darling husband suddenly said “huyooooo…world la..” because the packaging was a far cry from the usual that we see at the wet market.

So contrarary to what most people (including darling husband) might think, tempeh is actually a universal food that is enjoyed (mostly by vegans) by almost everybody in the world.

So what is tempeh?

Cooked soybeans that are fermented by the Rhizopus mold (the tempeh starter). The mold holds the soybeans into a compact white cake.

What are the health benefits of tempeh?


An analysis of many trials has proven that soy reduces both total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Trials showing significant reductions in cholesterol have generally used more than 30 grams per day of soy protein; if soy protein replaces animal protein in the diet, as little as 20 grams per day may reduce both total and LDL cholesterol. Isoflavones found in soybeans appear to be a key cholesterol-lowering ingredient. While the cholesterol-lowering effect of soy protein or soy isoflavones is inconsistent in people with normal cholesterol levels, the effect of soy protein in people with high cholesterol is consistently beneficial.


Soybeans contain compounds called phytoestrogens, which are related in structure to estrogen; research has yet to determine the extent to which these or other compounds in soybeans are responsible for soy’s effect in both premenopausal and menopausal women. Soy is known to affect the menstrual cycle in premenopausal women, and societies with high consumption of soy products have been linked to a low incidence of hot flashes during menopause.

Doctors often recommend that women experiencing menopausal symptoms eat tofu, soy milk, tempeh, roasted soy nuts, and other soy-based sources of phytoestrogens. Soy sauce and many processed foods made from soybean concentrates have low levels of phytoestrogens.

Breast cancer

The commonly held belief that consuming soybeans or isoflavones such as genistein will protect against breast cancer is far from proven.

While Asian countries in which people consume high amounts of soy generally have a low incidence of breast cancer, the dietary habits in these countries are so different from diets in high-risk countries that attributing protection from breast cancer specifically to soy foods is premature. Similarly, women who frequently consume tofu have been reported to be at low risk of breast cancer. However researchers acknowledge that consumption of tofu might only be a marker for other dietary or lifestyle factors that are responsible for protection against breast cancer.

Some studies suggest that consuming soybeans in childhood—but not adulthood—may ultimately be proven to have a protective effect. Still other studies suggest that consuming soy might, under some circumstances, increase the risk of breast cancer.

Scientists who remain hopeful about the potential for soy to protect against breast cancer under some circumstances recommend consumption of foods made from soy (such as tofu)—as opposed to taking isoflavone supplements. Several substances in soybeans other than isoflavones have shown anticancer activity in preliminary research.

Prostate cancer

Genistein is an isoflavone found in soybeans and many soy foods, such as tofu, soy milk, and some soy protein powders. Some research has shown that genistein inhibits growth of prostate cancer cells, helps kill these cells, and has other known anticancer actions.

Some researchers believe that genistein may eventually be a potential treatment for prostate cancer; others are more conservative, saying only that enough evidence exists to recommend that future genistein research be devoted to prostate cancer prevention. Doctors remain hopeful that soy-based foods containing genistein and related isoflavones may eventually be proven to help protect against prostate cancer.

Fibrocystic breast disease

Fibrocystic disease has been linked to excess estrogen. When people with fibrocystic disease are put on a low-fat diet, their estrogen levels decrease; after three to six months, the pain and lumpiness also decrease. The link between fat and symptoms appears to be most strongly related to saturated fat. Foods high in saturated fat include meat and dairy products; fish, nonfat dairy, and tofu are possible replacements.


Soy foods may be beneficial in preventing osteoporosis. Isoflavones from soy have protected against bone loss in animal studies. In one trial involving postmenopausal women, supplementation with 40 grams of soy protein powder (containing 90 mg of isoflavones) per day protected against bone mineral loss in the spine. And many trials show that a synthetic isoflavone, ipriflavone, reduces the incidence of osteoporotic bone fractures. Although the use of soy in the prevention of osteoporosis looks hopeful, no long-term human studies have examined the effects of soy or soy-derived isoflavones on bone density or fracture risk.

Other interesting stuff you can do with tempeh (the ones MOST Malaysians don’t know of) – click image to enlarge


Tempeh Sushi – for more info – bazudaiku

Tempeh Steak – for more info – mac_vegetarian

Tempeh Burger – for more info – GOGI BERRY

Tempeh Sandwich – for more info – mac_vegetarian

Tempeh Kebab – for more info – j-blu

Tempeh Lasagna – for more info – alspic

Tempeh Pizza – for more info – michelle c.

Tempeh Salad – for more info – mac_vegetarian


websites which provide information about tempeh

Websites in Chinese:

1. Blog 天貝(tempeh)--素食的聖品

2. 抗氧化新尖兵-天貝 by Yun-Chin Chung et al. 2005. Newsletter from the Department of Food and Nutrition of the Providence University, Taiwan. Vol. 21, page 2.

3. 吃出健康 by 費格翠博士(Dale Figtree, 美國營養顧問)演講(文中將Tempeh中譯為甜培)黃香蘭翁麗台(美國營養顧問)翻譯2000親子科學活動輯要15

4. 大豆發酵製品及其相關特性 by 楊開聰副教授中國文化大學食品暨保健營養學系 食品專欄

5. 大豆發酵製品之抗氧化特性 by 楊開聰副教授中國文化大學食品暨保健營養學系 食品專欄

6. Purification and Characterization of Antioxidative Peptides Produced during Tempeh Fermentation. by I-Chuan Sheih, Shih-Mei Lin, Yi-Ju Lai, Hsing-Ying Wu, Ching Fwu Liu. 2005. Taiwan Journal of Agricultural Chemistry and Food Science, 43(1):71-77.

7. 豆發

8. 麻州佛教會2006年2月月訊美食天地由趙慧萍介紹健康食品“Tempeh”的料理方法其中”西紅柿”就是”番茄” 英文是tomato “粟米仁就是”玉米仁”英文是corn

9. 天貝介紹

10. 天貝介紹

11. Tempeh by blog 星空下的咖啡座Part II.

12. 坐看雲起時 – yam 天空部落

13. Blog 米娜娃星球

14. Rhizopus microsporus 菌群之二次代謝產物及黴菌毒素 by 網頁新知2005/06/06BCRC 生物資源保存及研究中心


Websites in Dutch:

1. Wat is tempeh?



Websites in English:


2. Yahoo  Group-Tempeh

3. Fermentation and Tempeh  Production by Jay Bost

4. Tempeh by the World’s Healthiest Foods

5. Tempeh by the U.S. Soyfoods Directory

6. How  We Make and Eat Tempeh Down on the Farm

7. Tempeh by the Soyfoods Association of North America

8. What  is tempeh?

9. Homemade  Tempeh

10. What  is tempeh?

11. Tempeh by Ontario Soybean Growers

12. FDA  approves new health claim for soy protein and coronary heart disease

13. Nutrition  Hotline by Suzanne Havala Hobbs, DrPH, MS, RD, Vegetarian Journal 2006 Issue

14. Tempeh  smoothie

15. The  Benefits of Tempeh: Indonesia

16. History  of Tempeh by William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi

17. ‘Farm  Tech” A Different Way of Seeing by Albert Bates, originally appeared in Communities Magazine, 111:49 (Summer 2001).

18. Mariah  Wiser of Greencastle, helped slice trays of tempeh… Photo: Julie

19. Tempting Tempeh by Conan Milner

20. Tempeh: versatile and nutritious by Dan Beck, published in aduki magazine, Summer issue 2006.


Websites in French:

1. Tempeh-Clea  cuisine

2. Tempeh

3. Curry  de tempeh au lait de coco 18 novembre 2005

4. Tempeh  sauté aux légumes, par Mamapasta / Sauté


Websites in German:

1. Tempeh-Hochwertige  vegetarische Nahrung

2. Tempeh  selbst gemacht


Websites in Japanese:

1. 日本テンペ研究会(岡山)  

A Japanese organization about  tempeh. The present head of this organization is Dr.  HoriiMasaharu.

2. テンペ村塾

3. JA-Okayama  


5. テンペ(インドネシア)


7. テンペ by the Kanagawa Agricultural Technology Center


9. Tempeh Mille feuille


11. インドネシアのヘルシーフード、テンペイでハンバーガー

12. tenpe_r.pdf

13. テンペカツ


15. 話題の食品「テンペ」って何?

16. くめ納豆 テンペ特集

17. 岡山テンペらーめん Tempeh Noodle or here




Filed under My recipes, tempeh

4 responses to “The not so Jawa tempeh

  1. It’s so cool that I found this post- that picture of tempeh sushi is mine! Tell your husband that here in New York, we LOVE tempeh, it’s the best protein in the world… we make all kinds of things with it, as you mentioned: “sausage,” mock tuna salad, sandwich spread, curry, “chicken” wings, etc. etc. etc.
    I’d love to visit Indonesia some day and eat some fresh market tempeh…yum!

  2. You can find more information about tempeh via

  3. Pingback: pumpkin pie sweetened condensed milk

  4. Better yet, we have developed an easy method for making tempeh. See web site.
    Indonesian students at Michigan State University said that our tempeh was the closest tempeh to what they eat in their home country.
    Thank you
    Betsy Shipley

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