Tempeh is one of those foods that's still okay on my list. I make it for Andrew every week, and of course, if I make something, I'm bound to taste if it's okay. Unlike other foods that I don't even allow to pass my lips anymore, tempeh still has benefits I don't mind getting a couple tablespoons of every once in a while.
Tempeh has been a staple in Indonesia for over 2000 years. I've tasted all sorts of tempeh, both yummy and totally nasty (Australia, I don't know what's up with you, but you've got to do something about your tempeh). Of course, being made up of soybeans, it's a great meat substitute in terms of protein, and also has a heavier meaty texture that's great for mock dishes. It's made by cooking hulled soybeans, adding in a culturing agent, and incubating them to let them ferment over night until they form a cake.
Tempeh is one of the few soy-based foods that actually uses the whole soybean. Fermentation also makes it extra healthy (again, because of those healthy probiotics that keep your tummy gremlins happy!). Because of fermentation enzymes, tempeh contains B12, has a higher fiber content than tofu, and is easier to digest. The enzymes responsible for fermentation already digest and break down a portion of the nutrients for you (yum...). Doing that actually increases your capacity to absorb a lot of soybean's minerals like zinc, iron, and calcium. Obviously, because of the probiotics, tempeh is also great for you GI tract and contains natural antibiotics.
This raw tempeh curry recipe is based of one of my very first vegan recipes. I made it up for a fundraising event (a Curry Festival!) during my undergrad years. It actually holds a special place in my heart because it's a recipe I made up on the same night Andrew and I got together (that part was after the event) :) Back in the day, I used regular tofu rather than tempeh and cooked the whole thing, but over the years, I've made it as raw as it can be! Of course if you wish, you can do it the old fashion way. All you'd have to do is cube tofu and simmer it until the flavors get soaked up (add the bananas last because they get too soggy).
Raw Banana-Raisin Tempeh Curry
1/3 C of shredded coconut + 1 C water (or 1 C coconut milk)
6 oz. tempeh (about 3/4 of a pack, but you could probably use the whole thing)
1 1/2 tablespoon of curry
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1 tablespoon of raw honey
1/2 tablespoon of salt
1/2 C raisins
1 1/2 bananas (mine were small so 1 large one would probably do)
1. Blend 1/3 C shredded coconut with water in a high speed blender to make coconut milk
2. Add curry, cumin, raw honey, and salt to coconut milk and blend
3. Dice the tempeh into small cubes (I actually chop it until it crumbles)
4. Dice bananas into cubes
5. Gently mix tempeh, bananas, and raisins in a bowl (be careful not to mush all the bananas)
6. Pour liquid curry blend into the bowl and mix everything. It will seem really liquidy but if you leave it overnight, the tempeh will soak up all the liquid and make a nice saucy tempeh (not saucy like a wench, but like a flavorful Indian dish of course!)
7. Eat! The longer you leave it, the more the flavors blend with one another. This keeps at least 1 week in the fridge, but it usually doesn't last that long!