Tempeh processing could be the oldest food technology in the history of Javanese people. Serat Centhini, a book published in the 16th century, indicates that Tempeh had been produced and consumed by the time of its publication. Tempeh might have been introduced by the Chinese who are making a similar product, Soybean Koji, which are dehulled soybeans fermented with Aspergillus molds. The use of Rhizopus as Tempeh starter in Indonesia may have been due to its better adaptation to the Indonesian climate. The earliest reference to Tempeh by a European appeared in 1875 in a Javanese-Dutch dictionary. The rise of Tempeh’s popularity in Java and its spread to other parts of Indonesia and other countries of the world began in the 20th century. In the 1970s the banana leaf as a container for the production of Tempeh was replaced by the use of plastic bags.

Reference: http://www.soya.be/history-of-tempeh.php

A Very Typical Indonesian Way of Doing Tempeh: