Originally posted April 03, 2013

Sambal Goreng Tempe

Sambal Goreng Tempe by Sarah Xiong

My favorite Indonesian dish, spicy fried tempeh. Spicy, sweet, savory, crunchy, soft. A lot of things going here. Great with steamed rice and a shredded omelette.

There looks to be an inordinate amount of chilis but the sugar and tangy tamarind balances out the heat. To be sure this dish is successful, taste the wet spices before stir frying for balance and flavor.


  • 1 package Indonesian tempeh, sliced 1/8" x 1/2" pieces
  • 8 red thai chilis, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 duam salam (Indonesian bay leaf)
  • 1 piece dried galangal (or fresh, minced)
  • 1 lime leaf
  • 3 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 3 tbsp gula jawa (brown coconut sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp belacan (fermented shrimp paste)
  • 1/2 tsp kecap manis (dark sweet soy sauce), divided
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp water
2 servings


Deep fry tempeh in about 2 cups of cooking oil til they turn golden brown. Set aside on paper towels to drain.

Prepare the chili, garlic and shallots in one bowl and set by the wok. Prepare all the spices in another bowl (except for the 1/4 tsp kecap manis) and set by the wok.

Add 1 tbsp oil in wok over medium high heat. Throw in chili, garlic and shallots and fry til fragrant. Add in the tempeh then add in the spices. Once spices are distributed throughout the tempeh let the sauce reduce. Toss in the 1/4 tsp kecap manis as a glaze and remove from heat.

30 minutes



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