Vivienne Goreng Tempeh

Vivienne Goreng Tempeh

The attached blog has been edited, Vivienne, Dr Direct Food Consultant, from this original site: Is Tempeh a Versatile Superfood? 

 All our recipes are coordinated by Vivienne

Yes. pan-fried or deep-fried, battered or braised, simmered or steamed, tempeh can do it all.

Toasty, nutty fried tempeh coated in a caramelized spice paste—plus lots of vegetables for good measure.

Sambal is a chile condiment eaten all over Indonesia and of which there are hundreds of variations; sambal goreng (which translates to “fried sambal” in Indonesian), is the whole class of dishes that start with frying that sambal in hot oil to make a spice paste called bumbu. This version of sambal goreng is my go-to, with tempe (spelled “tempeh” in English) that’s fried until crunchy, nutty, and irresistibly toasty. You can think of this as your new favorite “whatever’s in the pantry” recipe and swap the vegetables or tag out the tempeh for another protein (diced chicken, thin slices of pork or beef, or firm tofu all work). 

The heart of a good sambal goreng is the sambal itself, and this version is fragrant with ginger, garlic, and shallots, the tang of tamarind, and the defining warmth of chiles. If you can’t find kecap manis, you can substitute it with a mix of 3 Tbsp. dark soy sauce mixed with 3 Tbsp. light brown sugar. For the tamarind concentrate or paste, you can mix 2½ tsp. fresh lime juice with 2½ tsp. light brown sugar. For those less keen on deep-frying, you can also pan-fry tempeh: Heat ¼ cup vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook tempeh about 3 minutes per side, adding additional oil between batches if needed. —Vivienne 

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Suggested Equipment:




28-oz. packages tempeh

¼ cup vegetable oil, plus more for frying (3–4 cups)

1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt, plus more

3 large or 4 medium shallots

12" piece ginger

1 large or 2 small plum tomatoes

6 garlic cloves

4–6 red serrano or Fresno chiles

3 .5 oz. green beans

½ large bunch Tuscan or curly kale (about 6 oz.)

2 lemongrass stalks

4 makrut (Thai) lime leaves (optional)

3 Tbsp. kecap manis

1Tbsp. grated palm sugar or light brown sugar

1 tsp. tamarind concentrate or 2½ tsp. tamarind paste

2 tsp. ground coriander

1 cup salted dry-roasted peanuts

 Steamed white rice (for serving)


1. Start by frying the tempeh. Cut two 8-oz. packages tempeh into 1x½ x¼" sticks with a chef’s knife. Pour vegetable oil into a medium heavy saucepan to come 2" up sides (but make sure pan is no more than two thirds full); clip a deep-fry thermometer to sides. Heat oil over medium until thermometer registers 350°. (If you don’t have a deep-fry thermometer, check oil temperature by adding a cube of bread—it should turn golden in 15–20 seconds.) Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels.
2.Working in 2 batches and bringing oil back to temperature between batches, carefully lower tempeh into hot oil with a slotted spoon or spider. Fry, turning occasionally until golden and crunchy all over, 7–9 minutes. Transfer to prepared baking sheet to drain; season with kosher salt.
3. Now make the spice paste. Cut 3 large or 4 medium shallots in half lengthwise and coarsely chop. Scrape skin from one 2" piece ginger with a spoon; discard. Thinly slice ginger. Cut 1 large or 2 small plum tomatoes into wedges.
4. Pulse shallots, ginger, tomatoes, 6 garlic cloves, and 1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1/2 tsp. Morton kosher salt in a food processor to make a coarse paste; set spice paste aside.
5. Prep the vegetables. Thinly slice 4–6 red serrano or Fresno chiles. (If you’re heat averse, go with the smaller number and scrape away seeds and  membranes before slicing.) Trim 3½ oz. green beans and slice into 1" pieces. Remove ribs and stems from ½ large bunch Tuscan or curly kale (about 6 oz.); discard. Chop leaves into large pieces.
6. Bruise 2 lemongrass stalks with flat side of knife. Halve stalks crosswise so they will fit in skillet later. If using 4 makrut lime leaves, partially tear in a few places to help release flavor.
7. Make the sauce: Stir 3 Tbsp. kecap manis, 1 Tbsp. palm sugar or brown sugar, 1 tsp. tamarind concentrate or 2½ tsp. tamarind paste, and ¾ cup water in a measuring glass to combine.
8. Heat ¼ cup vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium. Scrape in reserved spice paste, then add lemongrass and lime leaves. Cook, stirring occasionally with a heatproof rubber spatula, until paste is fragrant and beginning to take on some color and stick to pan, about 8 minutes. Add chiles and 2 tsp. ground coriander. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chiles are softened, about 5 minutes.
9. Add tempeh, green beans, kale, sauce, and 1 cup salted dry-roasted peanuts. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid evaporates and spice paste and sauce cling to ingredients, about 5 minutes. Taste and season with more salt if needed.
10. Serve sambal goreng tempe with steamed white rice.\]

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