But unfortunately, recently the Indonesian economy was hit by the problem of the soybean crisis which caused soybean prices to soar. This of course forced the traders and producers of tofu and tempeh to stop their production. Though processed from soybeans are the cheapest source of vegetable protein. However, even though these two foods are claimed to be foods with high nutritional and protein content, it turns out that one of the two ingredients of these foods has healthier nutritional content. So which one is it? Tofu or tempeh?
Although these two food ingredients are both made from the same raw materials, namely soybeans, the manufacturing of the two is different. The process of making tempeh is different from the process of making tofu. Tofu is made from soybean juice (the juice of crushed soybeans) and then precipitated by adding a coagulant. These processed soybeans adapted from China are generally soft and white or yellow in color. Usually, many processed soybeans are served by frying them to be enjoyed directly. In addition, many processed tofu are also used as a complement to meatball, batagor or dumplings.
Meanwhile, tempeh is made by fermenting soybeans using several types of mold. The mold will later hydrolyze complex compounds into simple compounds that are easily digested by the body. And when it has gone through the permentation process, the soybean seeds will become solid and stick to each other. The shape of the tempe itself usually varies depending on the mold used. Usually the shapes that are often found are round, rectangular and round.
And this is where there is a fundamental difference between the two food ingredients, namely tempeh is a fermented soybean product while tofu is not a fermented product. And the difference in the making process of tofu and tempeh is what makes these two foods have different nutritional content from each other. So that the difference in content is what then determines which is better between the two. Then which one is better?
But discussing this, there are important things we need to know first. Naturally, soybean seeds contain compounds called “antinutrients”. What are antinutrients? Antinutrients are compounds that inhibit the digestion of certain nutrients contained in other food ingredients which are also consumed at the same time. Then what are these anti-nutritional compounds? Anti-nutritional compounds contained in soy include phytoestrogens, goitrogens, sayotoxins, trypsin inhibitors, saponins and phytates (phytic acid).
These compounds are naturally contained in soybeans, but in fact the fermentation process is able to destroy these compounds. And that’s why tofu contains more anti-nutritional compounds than tempeh. So, is tempeh better than tofu? It could be so.
Do you know? The high content of phytic acid contained in soybean seeds can interfere with the digestion process of several other important minerals, such as iron, copper, zinc, magnesiaum and calcium. However, this phytic acid content can be removed by a long fermentation process, as is the case with tempeh. Meanwhile, other methods that are only soaked, cooked or perhaps sprouted (such as bean sprouts) are not able to reduce the phytic acid content in it.
Actually, this phytic acid content is not only found in soybean seeds, several other types of plants also have this content, it means that they are enthusiasts of vegetables have the opportunity to enter phytic acid into their bodies in larger quantities. However, the cooking process can slightly reduce the amount of phytic acid contained in vegetables. It’s just that the fundamental difference in the amount of phytic acid content is not as much as that contained in grains, including soybeans.
Not only minerals, but the latest facts reveal that phytate can also interfere with the digestion of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. The nature of phytate in interfering with the digestion of some of these important nutrients will certainly be very detrimental to the body, because it is not impossible that these compounds could rob the body of nutrients that the body really needs. And that means, it is clear that tempeh outperforms tofu in terms of the availability of nutrients for the body. So there is no need to hesitate and be confused anymore which one is better than these two soy-based foods.