Do you know tempeh, this plant-based alternative to fish meat?

It looks like tofu, but it isn’t, even though tempeh is also made from soybeans. This centuries-old Indonesian recipe is the basis of new research from a British start-up, the Better Nature brand, which aims to develop plant-based alternatives to seafood.

It is an ingredient that vegans have included in their diet for a long time. Now tempeh is gaining popularity because it is designed as a staple in animal food alternatives. Bearing a real resemblance to tofu, this paste is even at the heart of innovations to replace fish and shellfish. For example, the Better Nature brand wants to market its recipe in 2026.

Before you taste this future vegetable fish, you should start at the beginning and find out what tempeh is. Available in the organic section, this recipe from Indonesia comes in the form of a light brown block. It can be confused with tofu, especially since tempeh is also made from soybeans. However, it is not the same.

In the case of tofu, which is of Chinese origin, it is soy milk that is curdled before being squeezed to present itself in the form we know, that is, compact with a silky appearance. When it comes to tempeh, the production process is different. The recipe is the result of a fermentation that is activated by adding a mushroom to previously cooked and then ground soybeans. In terms of taste, tempeh wins the battle against tofu thanks to a light taste of nuts and its smoky notes. According to the Better Nature brand, the winner is also successful when it comes to evoking nutritional aspects. Tempeh contains more fiber, protein and iron than tofu.

Photo: Shutterstock

How is tempeh cooked?

You can follow the same cooking tips as for tofu if you want to process tempeh. This marble-like pasta can be grilled to fit in a burger instead of a steak, but it can also be marinated before grilling. For the cordon bleu chefs in the mood for a culinary adventure, they can substitute the meat of a bolognese by shredding the tempeh into the tomato base. We even saw adaptations of our national beef bourguignon…

Given all these arguments, you’re probably wondering why tempeh isn’t as famous as tofu? The price is in fact higher, which has not contributed to its democratization… The price per kilo is more than 20 euros when tofu costs less than ten euros per kilo in its natural and organic version.

(ETX Daily Up)

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