My neighbour’s tempeh & a simple vegan recipe for delicious tempeh slices

Village Tempeh

I just discovered a neighbour of mine in this ecovillage has started making organic tempeh – free of GMOs.  I love tempeh and I have been meaning to make some for ages, but unfortunately it has only stayed on my wish list so far. I fell in love with it in Indonesia when I was teaching permaculture over there in 1999 (and the many times I returned), particularly the fresh local village made tempeh.

Tempeh is a good way to eat beans and grains because they usually lose a lot of their lectin and phytate contents in the fermentation process. I really enjoy it added to a big cook up of our homegrown veggies and spices.

The texture and taste of my neighbour’s tofu was amazing – not like the hard and sometimes slimy tempeh in supermarkets. I had thought that was OK (because really I wanted to like it), but now I know where to get the ‘real’ stuff, I’ll be putting in a standing order! Luckily I have lots of plants and food in my permaculture garden to trade with them.

What is tempeh?

Tempeh is typically made out of fermented soya beans but can also be made out of other things such as things such as mung beans and chickpeas, but also grainsPartially cooked whole soybeans are aged overnight in an incubator at a tropical temperature with a starter culture. During that time a thick, white mat of mycelia, a kind of fungus, covers the tempeh and this binds the beans together as a ‘cake’. 

A local fresh source …

Every Monday the tempeh maker and his family invite people over to their place for a falafel and baclava feast – a lovely opportunity for people in this community to get together informally and chat.

It was there a few days ago, that on the table I saw the tempeh they had prepared as a taste test.  My three year old son absolutely loved it and asked if I could get some for his kindy lunchbox. How could I resist such an earnest request?

I picked up a couple of blocks up today – it was still warm. Fresh tempeh! 

This is how I prepared it.

How to make simple and delicious tempeh – for meal protein, or a snack.


  • Tempeh
  • Cononut Oil
  • Chilli
  • Fresh Ginger Root
  • Garlic



  1. Slice tempeh into 4mm slices
  2. Heat fry pan and add the following – 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, a sliced chilli, 5 mm ginger root – grated finely, a crushed and chopped clove of garlic, a sprinkle of himalayan salt.
  3. When oil hot add the tempeh to the pan. 
  4. When brown on one side, turn over and brown the other side


The freshly fermented tempeh.


Chopped and cooked with a 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, grated ginger, sliced chilli, crushed garlic, and a sprinkling of himalayan salt.


After a couple of minutes, they were brown on one side, so I gently turned them over for another minute or two before moving them to a towel to absorb the excess oil.


I laid it out ready for my family to come back home from their outing.


Then I realised that it didn’t quite looked enough, so I cooked up the other half. 


… and in the few moments after they walked in the door, it was gone! Even my picky food critic son loved it – so it must be really good. Now I have to make some more at 6:30am so that little Monty can have some in his kindy lunchbox.

A goal of mine is to grow some grains and more legumes in my permaculture garden to make my own tempeh!!! I’ll let you know how I go when I get to this point, and I’d love to hear your experienced of making various sorts of tempeh.



2 Responses

  1. tribalbudgie
    tribalbudgie at |

    I would love to make tempeh, but I have yet to see a process that doesn't involved plastic bags (or something similar) and lots of energy to ferment the tempeh. I hope you can overcome these hurdles.

  2. Lily Pond
    Lily Pond at |

    In Malaysia I often had this dish, amongst others. Yummy