You’ll love this Soy-Free Tempeh Recipe. It is worth the time and patience.
Tempeh originated from Indonesia, Java Island, which is one of the very few soy products not created from China. Traditionally tempeh is made with fermented soybeans and has a rich smoky and mushroomy flavor with a firm, nutty texture. Tempeh is famous among vegans and is used in dishes to replace meat because of its high protein content. Tempeh is an excellent way of adding more beautiful textures to your meals. It is packed with nutrients and contains natural antibiotics produced by the Rhizopus molds.
Instead of soybeans, I am using black beans in this Tempeh recipe. You could use any beans. It is a beautiful alternative to soy. The white beans provide a mild creamy flavor with an earthy, hearty taste perfect for salads or sautéed with your favorite vegetables.
The Tempeh starter culture can be sourced from different health shops depending on your location. All you need is patience for this recipe, and you will be greatly rewarded, I promise! It is way better than store-bought, GMO-free, and unpasteurized.
I hope this Tempeh recipe is helpful and it inspires you to create your version of Tempeh. For more fermented foods check out my favorite German Sauerkraut or my must-try Kimchi recipe.
Stay well and healthy.
White beans are used in this recipe video, but the method is the same.
Black Bean Tempeh Recipe
How to make tempeh from scratch with black beans instead of soybeans.
- 250 g black beans
- 1 tsp tempeh starter
- 2 zip locker bags
- Soak the beans overnight (about 16hours). Drain and rinse with fresh water and dehull the beans by massaging them into the water until the hulls float up. Then pour them out and repeat. Dehull as many beans as possible. This step will be worth it as it will give you a really smooth and creamier consistency.
- Cook the beans in 400g of water for about 20min. It should be cooked but still crunchy. Once the tempeh is done you will be cooking it again, so you want to make sure that it doesn't turn too soft.
- Drain the water and let it completely cool down.
- Add the tempeh starter and mix until well cooperated.
- Place the beans in 2 plastic bags about 12cm x 20cm (5"x8"). Using a toothpick or a skewer poke holes through the bag with 2cm (1-inch) intervals. The beans should be layered about 2cm (1-inch) thick. Divide the beans between the two bags. Seal the bags and flatten the beans out evenly. Leave the beans at a surrounding with a temperature between 25°- 30° (85-90 Fahrenheit) for 36 to 48 hours.
- After 24 hours, the white mycelium will start to cover the surface of the beans. You may want to lower the heat source because the beans will start generating their own heat as the mold grows.
- After 24 to 48 hours, the tempeh should smell pleasantly nutty. The tempeh is done when the entire surface is covered with dense, white mycelium and is bound together firmly as a cake.
- Transfer the tempeh cakes to airtight bags or containers and store them in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- You could also make a bigger batch and freeze your tempeh for up to 3 months. Only make sure to steam your tempeh for 20min, let it cool down, wrap it in a container or plastic bag before placing it in the freezer.
Enjoy pan-fried with your favorite dip or in salads, curries, stews, pasta, and so many more dishes! When you make tempeh at home, it is always possible that some bacteria will sneak in and contaminate the whole batch. This bacteria could grow during the fermentation process, therefore, I recommend processing your tempeh by cooking, steaming, baking, etc. before you consume it.