Golden Tempeh with figs
Christmas wreath with smoked tofu
Tempeh is a fermented high protein plant-based food. It is an oriental technique, more than 2,000 years old, which makes legumes much more digestible and richer in free essential amino acids. The process also returns a pleasant flavour. It has a typical soft and compact dough format covered with a white mycelium, sometimes with some darker elements.
The mycelium is the vegetative apparatus of fungi (similar to the “roots”) and is formed by an interweaving of microscopic filaments. This interweaving creates the white fibres between the tempeh beans.
Tempeh ferments thanks to a mushroom named Rhizopus Oligosporus. Like many mushrooms, when they follow a natural and perfect growth process, they produce some more mature areas, which in the case of Rhizopus appear as dark elements. These are called black spots and are indicative of an optimal fermentation process.
The flavour is dictated by the legume of which it is made. However, the taste and smell it generates is not entirely definable. You can feel the walnut, the umami, the pungent fermentation, the roast, wrapped in a bitter aftertaste. It is very subjective and varies by how it is cooked and by the time of exposure to heat.