Tempeh or tempe is made from soy beans in a controlled fermentation process that binds the soy beans into a cake form. For more information about tempe, see here.

I grew up having tempe at least once a week, either for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s widely available in Indonesia and it’s considerably cheap. I remember when going to the local market with my mom, she always bought a block of tempe. So, basically there was always tempe when I opened the fridge πŸ˜€

Many dishes can be created with this humble tempe. Tempe can be easily shallow-fried (slice the tempe, then soak them in salted water for at least 30 minutes), fried with batter, stir fried with vegetable, etc. This recipe is one of my favourite tempe dishes; it’s tempe stir-fried with chillies, garlic, shallot in sweet soy sauce or kecap manis. It’s incredibly easy to make too.

Tempe can easily be found in most Asian grocery stores in Australia. They usually are frozen and come in small packages. The ones available in Melbourne are 225-gr packages and they are made in Australia. The price for 1 package is about AUD3.50, which is quite expensive if you compare to the price in Indonesia :P. But this Australian-made tempe is very good and taste the same as the ones I had in Indonesia. It’s worth it to cure my home-sickness πŸ™‚

Tempe is incredibly healthy too; it is made from soy beans (legumes) and high in protein and fibre. It is suitable for vegetarians, and because of its firm texture, some consider it as meat substitute.

Tempe with sweet soy sauce

(my mom’s recipe)

(serves 4 – 6)

  • 3 x 225 gr tempe from asian grocery store
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 3 shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 red chillies, sliced
  • 2 green chillies, sliced
  • 2 cm ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cm galangal, peeled and sliced
  • 2 x lemongrass, sliced
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 cup sweet soy sauce (kecap manis), or to taste
  • salt and pepper
  • 1Β½ cup water

Step 1. Cut the tempe to about 1-cm cubes. Heat the olive oil in a wok over medium fire. Add in the shallots and garlic and fry until they are fragrant. Add in the chillies, ginger, galangal, lemongrass and fry until fragrant.

Step 2. Add in the tempe, mix well and cook for about 2 minutes. Add in the soy sauce, sweet soy sauce, salt and pepper. Combine well and then add in the water. Bring to boil and cook until the water evaporates and the sauce is thick. You can add more soy sauce, salt and pepper to your liking. Serve with hot steamed rice.

It’s so yummy…!