Spicy Sambal Goreng Tempeh

Who said healthy cannot be delicious?

One good aspect about Indonesian food are the various vegetarian dishes that provide not only beautiful color decoration on your plate but also contribute to your overall health. I don’t know about you, but anything that tastes super tasty and is healthy for me, scores very highly in my book.

I’m going to share a lovely gluten free Indonesian recipe called Tempeh Sambal Goreng. It’s basically tempeh, a plant product that is high in protein content. Many Asian countries like to use tempeh as a protein in various dishes. I’d like to thank my dear cousin in The Netherlands for sharing this amazingly delicious recipe. It’s so delicious that you don’t even miss the meat! 😉


Ingredients (serves 2 people):

  • 1 block/package of Tempeh
  • chopped white onion
  • cloves chopped garlic
  • red chilies (more or less dependent on spice level preference)
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh galangal (or 1 teaspoon powder)
  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind root or concentrated liquid tamarind
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 stalk of lemon grass (white part only)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons fresh cilantro
  • 6 cups vegetable oil
  • Salt – according to preference


Step 1: Cut the Tempeh in little rectangular bars about ½ inch thick. Let them dry by air.

Step 2: Heat up oil in a pan or deep fryer. Deep fry the Tempeh in the hot oil to golden brown and let them dry on a piece of kitchen paper.

Step 3: Set aside the chopped onions, garlic and chilies

Step 4: Put the rest of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until mixed into a paste. You can also use a mortar and pestle.

Step 5: Put spice paste in a wok or frying pan with a little oil. Stir until hot so that the flavors are released.

Step 6: Now add in the onions, garlic and chilies. Cook for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add in ½ cup water.

Step 7: Add the deep fried Tempeh and mix well.

That’s it! All done. Just serve this beautiful dish over a mound of steaming rice and top it with fresh cilantro. You can serve it with your favorite vegetable if you like, on the side. Enjoy!