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Soy Good for You
By Kay Daly

Intro | Soy | Tofu | Tempeh | Quick Soy | Snacking | Frying | Peppers

On first sight, tempeh is easily the scariest of the soy foods. Its lumpy, bumpy, and an unappealing shade of beige-y gray. You can't be blamed for not wanting to put such an object in your mouth.

If you do, though, your bravery will be rewarded. Tempeh is a tasty, hearty, and (yes!) versatile food that can nicely round out a meat-free or meat-scant diet.

Essentially, tempeh consists of fermented soy beans tightly packed into firm cakes. It can be made solely of soybeans or mixed with grains, and it's a staple food item in Indonesia . It has a tougher, nutty taste and texture. Most recipes suggest that you steam cubes of tempeh before preparing, which helps to tenderize it, though if you're frying it, you can skip this step.

As for its much lauded versatility, tempeh can be sliced and sauteed, fried, or grilled. It can be crumbled and added to chili. Cubes of it can be simmered in stew, or it can be grated and mixed with other seasonings to make sandwich fillings.

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