World Protein Day: All the reasons why you need tempeh in your diet. It fits into all cuisines and makes a great plant-based protein source.
With an increasing number of urban Indians aiming to have more balanced meals, you would think that we are a protein-positive people. Unfortunately, a 2019 Indian Market Research Bureau research shows that 73 % of urban Indians are protein-deficient and a whopping 93% have no clue what their daily protein requirements are. For the average vegetarian Indian, soya, grains, and pulses are a primary source of protein and these can fast become monotonous. Enter: Tempeh
Tempeh (or tempe), a soybeans plant-based protein made by natural culturing and controlled fermentation is a great option. Tempeh can be used in a multitude of ways, across cuisines and cooking styles, and is a nutrition powerhouse.
Here are 5 reasons why you should eat Tempeh
A great plant-based protein source
“As a protein source, Tempeh has 18.5 gms of protein per 100 gms. It has an amino acid score of 79. It is also a good source of PUFA (polyunsaturated amino acids) and is a moderate source of Omega-3 fatty acid. Tempeh is rich in manganese, copper, magnesium, and phosphorus too,” explains Dr Sowmya Bharani, PhD (RD), Dietitian and CEO of NutriGENEus. She adds that tempeh increases satiety, muscle mass, and reduces insulin spikes. It is also low in sodium and high in fibre, making it ideal for people with high blood pressure. She advises that tempeh should not be overcooked or it decreases its bioavailability (body’s absorption of nutrients) and protein digestibility.
An exciting option for vegetarians
Indian consumers particularly have limited options in substantial, protein-rich foods. An emerging superfood like tempeh can break the monotony of the traditional vegetarian food scene. “With great flavour absorption, a hearty texture, and a mild nutty flavour, tempeh is the perfect ingredient to add variety to daily diets. It offers a rich blend of cooking versatility and variety,” says Siddharth Ramasubramanian, CEO and Founder of Vegolution, a Bengaluru-based food venture that manufactures tempeh and offers Hello Tempayy, ready-to-cook tempeh products.
A good choice for everyday home cooking
Siddhartha Jadhav, food and beverage consultant and ex-Executive Sous Chef, Taj Group of Hotels has worked extensively with tempeh and says that it is a versatile ingredient because it can be minced, deep-fried, steamed, cooked in tandoor, be part of biryanis or gravies, be marinated and grilled, and used in a wide range of cuisines. With the many diets in existence, tempeh easily fits into most, whether vegan, lactose-free, keto, high protein, and more. From a keema-style masala to samosas and vada pavs, burjis, Thai curries, Asian appetizers, European salads, steaks and more, the tempeh is a versatile ingredient, Siddhartha reiterates.
Great in Restaurants and as a Healthy Eating Out Choice
“Tempeh is a great option when eating out as it is a quality protein for vegans. It is easily digested because it’s fermented,” feels Vanika Choudhary, Founder and Chef, Sequel, Mumbai, who ferments different kinds of tempeh with chickpeas, green moong and red kidney beans at her restaurant. Its versatility is seen in dishes she has served at the restaurant, including a coconut curry with pan-seared tempeh; miso-glazed tempeh for sandwiches; roasted tempeh with tamari and garlic; and a tempeh burger made with a sourdough brioche.
An all-natural production and sustainable option
Tempeh manufacturing makes use of natural culturing and controlled fermentation processes. This binds soybeans into a cake form, making it easy to use. In India, manufacturers like Vegolution create their products fermenting non-GMO soybeans and fortifying them with Vitamin B-12 and iron.