Vegan-Friendly and Healthy Tempe
Tempe, a traditional soy product made from fermented soybeans, is everyone’s favourite in Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a block form. A special fungus, Rhizopus Oligosporus, is used.
This tasty staple was invented to make use of the leftover soybeans from tofu factories in Java. Originally the soybeans were just covered in mold and later this was developed into tempe.
In the 19th century, food products made from animals became scarcer as a result of population increase. Jawa island became much more populated during this period. The spread of colonial plantations in the region forced people to move away from animal hunting, farming and fishing and so people in Jawa ate less and less meat. When the forced labour policy implemented by the Dutch colonial government came into place, tempe became the main source of protein, saving thousands of lives from famine.
The invention of tempe is a great contribution from Jawa to the culinary world. The term “tempe” comes from ancient Javanese language “tumpi”, which means food which is white in colour, and “tape”, which means fermented product. Invented by the common people, tempe was a cheap and down to earth food and in the past was usually associated with the “lower classes” of Indonesian society, however, tempe is now loved by people from all social backgrounds. In fact, tempe can be found on almost every Indonesian dining table!
– 1/2 tempe block (cut into 1/2 cm x 2 cm pcs)
– as needed cooking oil
– 2 cloves garlic
– 3 long beans (cut into 2 cm pcs)
– 3 pcs baby corn (sliced into 3 cm pcs)
– as needed oyster sauce
– 50 ml water
– 1 red chilli (thinly sliced)
– 1 pc kaffir lime leaf (thinly sliced)
– 1/2 pc tomato (remove seeds and slice lengthwise)
How to make:
1. Stir fry tempe that has been chopped then set aside.
2. Heat cooking oil then sauté garlic until fragrant.
3. Add the long beans and baby corn and continue to stir fry until they are well-cooked.
4. Add oyster sauce and water.
5. Add the tempe that has been stir fried along with the red chilli, kaffir lime leaves, and tomatoes
6. Oseng tempe is ready to be served!