is tempeh gluten free_featured

Is Tempeh Gluten Free? more on gluten and tempeh

Tempeh is a superfood that everyone has been raving about since a few years ago. It originates in Indonesia, then its popularity spreads across Southeast Asia and beyond! Having said this, you might wonder “what makes it so special?”. Moreover, there are many people asking, “is tempeh healthy? or “is tempeh gluten free?”. For those of you who are not familiar with tempeh, this article is for you!

Table of Contents

What is tempeh?

is tempeh gluten free_what is tempeh

Tempeh is the Western spelling of “tempe” which is the original Indonesian name of this dish. As the original name suggests, tempe originates from Indonesia (specifically in Java island). People make tempeh by fermenting soybean with fungus. Typically in Indonesia, the soybean and fungus are put together inside banana leaves as wrapping for a few days under controlled temperature and humidity.

The fungus responsible for the creation of tempeh is Rhizopus oligosporus or Rhizopus oryzae. These two are also typically known as “tempeh starter”.

Do not confuse tempeh with tofu. Tofu or “tahu” in Indonesia, are as popular as tempeh. In fact, during the olden days, people in poverty often relied on “tahu tempe” with rice as their staple food (tofu and tempeh as affordable protein sources). 

In recent years, more research suggests that tempeh is very nutritious and many even categorize it as “superfood”. Tempeh is rich in protein, prebiotic & probiotic and also vitamins. Prebiotic and probiotics are excellent in creating and maintaining healthy gut flora that is essential in digestion and overall immunity. 

Tempeh and gluten

What is gluten?

Before answering “Is tempeh gluten free”, lets understand Gluten. Gluten is a protein that wheat plants and other grain plants commonly contain. It is naturally occurring in these plants. Other than wheat, gluten is often found in rye, barley and triticale (a cross between rye and barley). In the body, we have protease enzymes that break down proteins. However, gluten is a type of protein that proteases cannot break down. Hence, undigested gluten can make its way to the small intestine and, in some people, triggers autoimmune response in the body. 

Is tempeh gluten free?

frying tempeh

The raw material for tempeh is soya bean, onto which we add fungus (tempeh starters) to ferment it into tempeh. There is no gluten in tempeh if we only consider this.

However, there are many ways to prepare tempeh before you can consume and enjoy it as a dish. One way is to fry the tempeh. There are different types of fried tempeh dishes. Sometimes it does not use any flour, sometimes it uses rice flour as the batter and sometimes it might mix rice flour and other types of flour as the batter. If you fry tempeh without flour or if you use rice flour, the fried tempeh will be gluten free. Hence, the only time tempeh will contain gluten is when you add gluten to it. For example, using wheat flour as a batter for your fried tempeh. 

Healthy dishes that can be made with tempeh

A lot of vegetarians use tempeh in their dishes as a replacement for meat. There are also a lot of other healthy dishes, vegetarian and non-vegetarian, that use tempeh as part of their ingredients. This is because tempeh is nutritious, easy to make, cheap to make and also very filling. On top of that, tempeh is very versatile. That is, you can incorporate tempeh in many different ways.

You can add grilled tempeh slices into a sandwich, or you can add grilled tempeh cubes into your salad. Other than that, you can stir fry your tempeh with your favorite vegetables to create a stir fry dish. Tempeh on its own has a very nice taste already. But if you do not like its natural taste or smell, you can choose to marinate it beforehand with soya sauce or herbs. Then you can proceed to grill or fry the marinated tempeh.

Is tempeh healthy?

Yes, tempeh is very healthy and packed with a lot of nutrients. It is also gluten free, so if you are sensitive to gluten, this is safe for you. Just be mindful of the preparation method of tempeh. You may introduce gluten to tempeh if you use wheat flour batter for your tempeh prior to frying.

Other than being healthy, it is also versatile. What we mean is that there are so many different ways to add tempeh into your dish. Also, you can be creative when you process tempeh as your cooking ingredient. 

Other articles:

low calorie ice creams Singapore_featured

Low Calorie Ice Creams Singapore: are they healthy/halal?

In general, Singapore is a country with a high level of awareness of health and nutrition. Because of Covid, most people also realize how important their health is. A 2021 survey by Straits Times shows 75% of respondents identified physical health as a top priority. Of 1,000 Singapore residents aged 18-70, 50% exercise more, 46% eat healthy meals more often, 54% spend more on being healthy, and 66% reported higher motivation to adopt healthy lifestyles. This is an encouraging trend for Singapore. However, eating and calorie intake is another important part of equation  – how can we be healthy, calorie conscious and enjoy food/dessert at the same time? A topic that we want to discuss in this article is healthy desserts, in particular, low calories ice creams in Singapore. Is low calorie ice cream healthy or are they halal? And if it is, where to find this healthy ice cream in Singapore? Let’s find out more about low calorie ice creams Singapore!

Table of Contents

Low calorie ice cream vs healthy ice cream?

low calorie ice creams Singapore_XO ICE

Healthy is a generic term. Most foods are healthy if consumed in moderation. The same goes for ice cream. When tackling the question “are low calorie ice creams healthy?”, the answer will depend on the health goal of each individual. Some individuals want to cut calories to lose weight so that they can have a more ideal body weight for the body to function optimally. Some have diabetes or are pre-diabetic so they need to cut sugar intake.  So, low calorie ice cream that is high in sugar will not be healthy for those with blood sugar issues but might still work in helping some lose weight.

Now let’s talk about low calorie ice creams. To cut down on the number of calories, low-calorie ice creams may use low-fat dairy, artificial sweeteners, or milk alternatives. Low calorie ice creams that are highly processed are not necessarily healthier than higher calorie ice creams with more natural ingredients. Some low calorie ice creams can be high in sugar as well. Keep in mind that sugar is not equal to calories. In order to cut the calories, producers might cut down the fat, but the sugar content is still high. 

At the end of the day you need to look through the ingredients list to understand what goes into your ice cream. Healthier ice cream tends to have a shorter list of ingredients, as it is normally less processed. Also, look at the ingredients in order – they will put the ingredient with the highest amount first followed by other ingredients of lower amount.

Where can you find low calorie ice cream or healthy ice crem in Singapore?

low calorie ice creams Singapore_where to find

There are a lot of low calorie ice creams in Singapore today. Those who are more calorie-conscious and always on the lookout for a healthier alternative for desserts may already know where to find them. For the rest of us, where can we buy this low calorie ice cream? 

As the population is getting more and more health-conscious, you can find these ice cream tubs in many supermarkets. Fairprice carries such ice creams, and you can see more options in Fairprice Finest. If you are looking for a wider selection, Cold Storage and Little Farms also carry many local and foreign low calorie ice cream brands that you can choose from. There are plenty of online grocery services today like Lazada mart and Redmart where you can order these ice creams as well. 

Some popular low calorie ice creams in Singapore that you can try: 

Are this kind of ice cream in Singapore pricier than the regular one?

Calli’s costs around S$15 and Callery around S$17 per pint. On the other hand, Haagen Dazs costs around S$14-15 per pint and Ben & Jerry costs around S$14. Low calories ice cream might be more expensive than regular ice creams because of the R&D involved in the manufacture. That is, the recipe needs to be tweaked such that calories count is lower while taste and texture are not compromised as much. Moreover, the manufacturing facility might need to be improvised to cater to this revised recipe. Hence, the overall production costs tend to be higher. 

Are low calorie ice creams in Singapore halal?

What does halal mean? Halal means “permissible” and Moslem people can only consume halal food. There are many criteria that need to be fulfilled before a food can be considered halal. According to Today’s Dietition, “By Islamic law, all foods are considered halal, or lawful, except for pork and its by-products, animals improperly slaughtered or dead before slaughtering, animals slaughtered in the name of anyone but Allah (God), carnivorous animals, birds of prey, animals without external ears (some birds and reptiles), blood, alcohol, and foods contaminated with any of these. All seafood is halal.”

Having said that, some ice creams can be non-halal. For example, those that contain alcohol. Are low ice creams in Singapore halal? Not all ice creams in Singapore are halal, to begin with. So the answer to this question is no.

You can find halal ice creams by observing the packaging of the ice cream. If there is a “halal” certification on it, it means it has been verified as Halal. However, if you want to enjoy a halal low calorie ice creams in Singapore you can try XO-Ice.

Should you opt for low calorie ice creams in Singapore?

Definitely. Especially if you are into desserts but want to keep your calorie count lower. There are more brands of low calorie ice creams in Singapore today than ever before offering delicious yet healthier ice creams. Some even have higher protein content to cater to those who work out and also to make you feel sated more quickly (therefore prevent overeating). Remember, healthy is oftentimes about eating in moderation!

Learn more about Singapore with us through our future articles. In the meantime, explore Thailand here!