Dry Tofu and Tempeh

 This dry tofu and tempé dish is completely vegetarian. Or better said: completely vegan. It is sweet because of the Javanese sugar (gula Jawa) and spicy because of the chili peppers. Delicious. The slices of tofu and tempeh are covered in a super sweet sauce.

Dry tofy and tempe with Javanese sugar

Tahoe and tempeh are ‘cakes’ of soybeans. Tofu is much more tender than tempeh.

It is sold at my local supermarket and Asian store. In the picture above you see a block of tempeh.

I cut the blocks into bite-sized slices of 1,5 centimeters and fry them crispy in the hot oil.

This recipe is enough for 4 people and is done in 40 minutes.

Dry Tahoe and Tempe #365 translated from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch Kookboek, page 301.


1/2 block tofu
1/2 block tempeh


5 tablespoons chopped onions
4 cloves of garlic chopped
4 lomboks (chilies) cut into rings (seeds taken out)
1 teaspoon laos (galangal)
2 tablespoons Javanese sugar (gula jawa)
piece of asem the size of a walnut (tamarind)
1 salam leaf

Cut the tofu and tempeh into thin slices and fry in a deep fryer. Fry onions and garlic in 4 tablespoons of oil until golden brown. Drain and fry the lombok rings in the remaining oil,  which are then mixed with the fried onions and garlic.

Mix the sugar and pulp asem (without seeds and fibers) with water and put it on a low fire. Sift the mass as the sugar is dissolved. Bring it back to the boil together with galangal, salam leaf and salt. Reduce the liquid until it starts to get thick. Mix in the fried tofu and tempeh and the mixture of onions, garlic and lombok. Mix it until the sugar syrup completely covers the tofu and tempeh. You can keep this dish in a jar.

I use asem paste (tamarind) from a jar. It has already been filtered and it easily dissolves in water.

I bring water to the boil with the gula Jawa, laos, asem, salamlad and salt. I use a total of 2 gula jawa disks to create enough sugar syrup.

I let the syrup slowly thicken on low heat, stirring occasionally.

I cut the peppers in length and deep-fry them in the oil for a few minutes. When they get soft, I take them out and let them drain.

Dry tofu and tempe

Then the slices of tempeh and tofu can go in. Do not fry too many at the same time. Otherwise, the oil cools too much.

Then I deep-fry the onions and garlic in the same oil. Now the syrup is nicely thick and we can start combining.

I fill up a pot with the tofu, tempeh, peppers, onion, and garlic and pour over the shiny syrup.

This dish does not need to be served warm, but can stay at room temperature. Keep in the refrigerator for later use though.

I love this tempeh dish with a fresh acar or a tender sayur lodeh.


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