Starter Cultures for Tempeh (Ragi)

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Cultures for Tempeh

White mould fibers connecting soy beans together

Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian soy product made from fermented soybeans using rhizopus oligosporus mould. It became increasingly popular due to its delicious nutty profile and high protein content. It also has a firm and earthy flavour, which increases in intensity as it ripens. We love it especially sliced thin and fried into chips, or cubs in a lemongrass-sambal stir-fry. Ask us for our recipes!

Beside soy beans, the team at Craft & Culture has experimented with a variety of beans and got great results, so feel free to experiment:

  • chickpeas
  • red beans
  • kidney beans
  • black beans
  • Lentils
  • White beans

At Craft & Culture, get our tempeh cultures to start your ferments! We also offer fermentation workshops as well! Please see here

Famed chef David Chang of Momofuku describes it best: 
"Microbes produce enzymes, enzymes develop amino acids, glutamic acid + aspartic acid = umami, umami = delicious."

Here's our recipe to make tempeh:

Tempeh Recipe: (makes about 500-540 g of tempeh)
  • 250g dry soy beans (~500g when cooked)
  • 1g tempeh starter culture 
  • 2 Tb vinegar 
  • banana leaves or a zip loc bag with holes poked into it
  1. Soak the dried beans overnight and boil in water until they are soft and can be mashed with your fingers (usually 1-2 hours on high heat). Dry cooked beans well.
  2. When the beans are at room temperature, sprinkle vinegar and mix well before adding the tempeh cultures and mix well. Let sit for 1-2 hours to evaporate moisture.
  3. Wrap the beans in banana leaf and secure well or place in a zip loc bag with holes. Make sure the beans are packed but not too packed as air needs to circulate for the mould to grow
  4. In 24 hours, the bean mixture should be warm to touch.
  5. In 48 hours, a light layer of mould should form on the surface. Once the mould forms a cake that binds the beans together, use for cooking immediately or store in a fridge to halt the fermentation
  6. If allowed to ferment longer, black spots of mould will form. The tempeh is still edible, although it may not look as appealing.
  7. Enjoy!


Tempeh ragi colour differences may vary between pale beige, yellow, cream, or white. 


Store in a cool and dry place or in the freezer. See package for best by date.


Mailed via Singpost. Pickups available on Fridays. Enjoy Free Standard Mail for 500g and above.

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