Sambal goreng Tempeh

Sambal goreng tempeh

Tempeh are fermented soy bean blocks and easy to get at an Asian food store or at the vegan/vegetarian section of the supermarket. This sambal goreng tempeh recipe is tasty and simple. If you leave the shrimp paste (trassi) out of the recipe this dish is vegan!

Tempé is typically Indonesian and consists of a slice of fermented soybeans. The beans are pushed into a mold and formed into a block. Tempé is super tasty. You can bake it crispy too, like in this recipe.

This recipe is ready in 45 minutes and is enough for 3 people.


Sambal goreng tempe #62 translated from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch kookboek, page 85.

  • 1/2 slice of tempeh
  • 3 tablespoons of chopped onions
  • 1 clove of chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sambal terasi (or 1 teaspoon sambal ulek and 1/2 teaspoon terasi – fermented shrimp paste)
  • 1 teaspoon of galangal
  • 1 teaspoon of Javanese sugar
  • 1 stalk sereh (lemongrass)
  • 1 salam leaf
  • asem the size of 2 walnuts (tamarinde)
  • 1/8 block of santen
  • 6 tablespoons of oil
  • salt
  1. Cut the tempeh into dice of approximately 2 cm.
  2. Soak the asem (tamarind) with the salt in 8 tablespoons of water, strain this and let the pieces of tempeh marinate for about 15 minutes. Mix it now and then.
  3. Rub onions, garlic, sambal, galangal, and sugar into a paste.
  4. Sauté it in the oil.
  5. Add the pieces of tempeh and cook for a while.
  6. Then add the block of santen, sereh, salam and 8 tablespoons of water.
  7. Simmer this for about 10 minutes

The ingredients are simple, but for some, not every ingredient is easy to get. Salam leaf, for example, is Asian bay leaf and adds a lot to the flavor. I think it tastes a bit like cinnamon. If you cannot get salam leaf, use regular bay leaf. Laos (galangal) you can get in powder form or fresh from the freezer. Tamarind provides a sweet-sour taste and goes very well with the creaminess of the coconut cream (santen).

I start by placing the tempeh in the marinade with the salt. I use half a teaspoon of salt.

I grind the onions, garlic, sambal, galangal, and sugar. This is called a bumbu. For this sambal goreng tempeh, the amount of bumbu is not a lot, but believe me, it is enough to give the whole dish a lot of flavors.

I don’t have sambal shrimp paste, so I add half a chili pepper and half a teaspoon of shrimp paste (trassi). Sambal trassi is very easy to make yourself by the way. Go to the recipe here. I fry the bumbu in my wadjang (wok) with a tablespoon of oil. I also add the lemongrass and the salam leaf.

When the bumbu becomes tender, the pieces of marinated tempeh can be added together with the piece of santen (coconut cream). I stir everything well and then add a little bit of water. The size of an espresso cup.

I let it simmer for 5 minutes with the lid on the pan so the santen melts. Then I stir it again and let the sauce thicken. I leave the salam leaf and lemongrass in the dish when I serve this sambal goreng tempeh. Selamat Makan.

Sambal goreng tempeh

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