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Mar 28, 2013 10:33 AM

Indonesian / more Traditional Tempeh Recipes

I bought some plain Tempeh the other day that I need to cook but its proving difficult to find any interesting "proper" recipes beyond the usual westernized vegan hippie things. (ie I don't want to just make Tempeh Burgers or some meat substitiue thing.)

How is it traditionally eaten in Indonesia? The pics are from Wikipedia. Something like that Stir-fry looks ok.

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  1. Deep-fried and served with some sort of sauce is pretty common, I think. I've also had it cubed and mixed with tofu, cooked in a tasty sauce, and served as part of a vegetarian version of Nasi Bunkus. Deep frying or shallow frying is a good way to start if you're not a big tempeh eater, as I think it cuts down on the funky taste a bit.

    While not all Gado-Gado has tempeh, this is a very famous Indonesian dish, and tempeh is definitely appropriate for it.

    I don't know how traditional this method is, but it's one of my favorite tempeh preparations, and the author does live in SE Asia, though she's ethnic Chinese.

    I have not tried this one, but also looks promising:

    Pickup some kecap manis (a thick, sweet, soy-sauce based sauce) if you can get it near you (or online) - it will be useful for many of these recipes.

    Some health food people suggest that steaming it first (before any other type of cooking) will enhance digestibility. I have never seen this suggested in any SE Asian recipes, though.

    I have to say, though, tempeh "reubens" are also really great.

    1. It's funny, I've been trying to find out more about this, too. After having eaten tempeh in numerous, unrecountable, unspeakably good ways at an Indonesian restaurant in Holland years ago, I'm disappointed to say that I've never quite encountered anything like that since.

      Will keep you updated on my findings.

      As for tempeh recipes that aren't necessarily Indonesian, but are a departure from the tempeh burger/reuben/bbq slathered stuff, I've seen some interesting things on the facebook page for Barry's tempeh (they make fantastic fresh, unpasteurized tempeh)

      1. This is what I do with it. I ate it a lot in Indonesia and this is my best attempt at replicating a dish I had reguarly. It's probably a fair way off being authentic as I never saw it cooked, I just ate it. The photo has petai beans in it, you're not likely to find these easily so I've removed them from the recipe, it's just as good without them and just with green beans.

        Tempeh & Green Beans

        2 cloves garlic, chopped
        2 cm ginger, chopped
        2 long green chillies, chopped
        300 grams green beans, chopped in thirds
        2 shallots, finely diced
        Handful toasted peanuts, crushed
        1 block tempeh chopped into slices

        2 - 3 tomatoes, chopped roughly

        To serve:
        kecap manis
        4 Tbsp Peanut oil
        garnish coriander leaves
        Lime wedges (optional)

        Notes / Directions
        Make sauce first. Pound onion, chilli, garlic, ginger and shallots in a mortar and pestle until they form a paste. Add the tomato in at the end and pound gently. Fry the paste in a pot with 1 tbsp peanut oil until cooked. Then let simmer on a very low heat for 20 mins at least to reduce. You want this to cling to your ingredients rather than have them swim in it.

        Pan fry tempeh slices in plenty of peanut oil and drain on paper towels.

        Fry beans and add the petai beans in to warm through, then add tempeh and chili mix back in when beans are nearly done.

        Serve with a scattering of crushed peanuts and kecap manis. Sprinkle with coriander leaves and wedges of lime if desired.