To inspire everybody who joins this week without meat (#weekzondervlees) in Holland, I’ve made Beb Vuyk’s tempeh balls. Recipe #372 in her book sounds easy and delicious. In Indonesia they are called perkedel tempe.
The ketumbar (coriander powder) and jinten (cumin powder) give the perkedel their specific flavor. In combination with the warm flavored tempeh, the tempeh balls taste almost like freshly roasted nuts.
This recipe is enough for about 15 balls. I make them the size of a ping-pong ball and it takes me about 25 minutes to make.
Tempeh balls (Ento-ento from Solo) #372 translated from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch Kookboek, page 305.
- 1/2 slice of tempe
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons of chopped onions
- 2 shredded garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon of sambal ulek
- 1 teaspoon ketumbar (coriander)
- 1/2 teaspoon of jinten (cumin)
- 1 teaspoon of Javanese sugar
- Rub onions, garlic, sambal, ketumbar, jintin, sugar and salt together to form a paste.
- Steam the tempeh briefly or boil shortly in a little bit of water.
- Crush the tempeh with a fork and mix with the herb paste and an egg.
- Form small balls and cook them in a deep frying pan.
- Let drain.
I get two slices of tempé of 250 grams each. I don’t know how much Beb means in her recipe with ‘1/2 slice of tempeh‘. But I now have a pound of tempeh and that is quite a lot. That’s why I double the amount of herbs. I add a teaspoon of salt to my meatballs.
In the end I use 1 medium egg and not two, as in the photo. The tempeh is wet enough with 1 egg to mold into balls.
Cook the tempeh
I boil the tempeh briefly. I think that cooking is necessary to soften the tempeh to process later.
Bumbu (herb paste)
In my cobek (mortar) I rub onions, garlic, sambal, ketumbar, jinten, sugar and salt until it forms a paste. I do not rub the bumbu too finely. The onions help the ball to stay light and airy after frying.
I let the tempeh cool down for a while, because the layers of beans keep the tempeh crazy lava hot for a long time. So awas!
It was quite difficult to crumble the tempeh. Maybe they needed more cooking time. I use my hands to squeeze the tempeh beans fine and manage to mix the bumbu all the way through together with one egg.
The tempeh remains a solid mass but is sticky enough to form balls.
Beb writes in her recipe: “Form small balls and cook them in a deep frying pan.’ It is not clear to me whether the balls should be fried or not. I opt for frying anyway. Baking in a pan in a thin layer of oil is ofcourse also possible.
I buy special vegetable frying oil with an anti-splatter solution. This makes the oil practically odourless. In a small pan, I deep-fry my ento-ento in about a 1,5 minute each (or until nicely browned) into crispy balls.
I fry three at a time. Too many tempeh balls together in the oil, will make the oil cool down too quickly which can result in greasy balls.
I sprinkle some finely chopped fresh coriander and a teaspoon of homemade serundeng (roasted coconut shavings) on top. Delicious!