Make Your Own Tempeh

I love tempeh and I love making it, it is so rewarding. For someone who follows a vegan diet it can add a variety of flavour, which cannot be compared to anything else. And even if you don’t like the natural funky flavour of tempeh, you can marinate it, as it’s so good at absorbing flavour. 

Tempeh is a fermented soy, which originated in Indonesia. 
Tempeh is packed with protein, minerals and probiotic
making it a really good choice for your gut health.
During the fermentation process, the phytic acid from
soya beans is broken down, which helps to improve
digestion and absorption.


It is important that you incubate it in a place where the temperature is between 29 C and 32 C. I am lucky to have a warm airing cupboard. Alternatively you can also use an incubator.

Tempeh starter

I purchased my tempeh starter (Ragi Tempeh) on eBay. There are plenty to choose from.


The easiest and cheapest way is to your a plastic zip bag (freezer bag), which you perforate with a skewer every inch or so. The vents must be large enough to allow air circulation. Alternatively you can use a perforated tupperware container and cover with cling film or like in Indonesia, use a banana leaf. 

  • 400g of soya beans
  • 1 Tsp tempeh starter
  • 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • plastic zip bag perforated with a skewer every inch
  • Potato masher (optional)
  • Large pot
  • Colander
  • Kitchen towel
  1. Soak  – soak your beans in water for 12 hours or overnight.
  2. Rinse your soya beans well and use a masher to split the beans. I try to mash it for a few minutes to make sure that most of them split. Don’t worry if not all of them split. Even if you skip this step you still should be able to get a good tempeh.
  3. Cook – Add water to the pot with the beans and simmer for 45 minutes
  4. Strain & cool -Strain it and lay the beans on top of the tea towel to remove the moisture and to cool them down to room temperature. Pat with kitchen towel to make sure they are as dry as possible.
  5. Add vinegar – place you beans in a pot and add the vinegar. Stir it very well
  6. Add tempeh starter – now add the tempeh starter and make sure you mix it in very well. If you don’t you may end up with pockets of unfermented soya beans and your patty will fall apart.
  7. Pack – place your beans in the perforated container and pack it tight. make sure that your patty is about 1 inch thick. Close the bag or cover your container with cling film
  8. Incubate – place your patty in a warm place (around 30 C) for around 30h. You will notice steam forming after 12h and after 24h you will see white mycelium which will grow thicker. My patty normally is finished around 30 hours. You may see small black holes appearing on top, this means your tempeh is ready. It should smell nutty or mushroomy and may smell slightly of ammonia. If you see anything mushy or slimy you should discard it.
  9. Remove – remove your patty from the container. I slice it to 1 inch sandwiches. I freeze half and put the rest in the fridge for up to 1 week. 
You can use other types of beans for tempeh like chickpeas. 
The process is the same but cooking time may vary.
I used small chickpeas and it worked great.

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