Monday, 21 October 2013

Spicy Indonesian Tempeh


Do you know why tempeh is warm to the touch? That's because it is alive. I mean the fungus that ferments tempeh is alive and it produces heat during fermentation. This occurred to me when I took two pieces of tempeh out from the fridge for them to come to room temperature. A little more than an hour later, they felt quite warm.


This recipe comes from the Periplus Mini Cookbook series called Asian Vegetarian Recipes. There was a time when I wanted to become a vegetarian. I even bought Vegetarian for Dummies and a few vegetarian cookbooks. It didn't work out for me because I kept feeling hungry shortly after every meal. Besides, most of the dishes involve deep frying and some were not convenient for me to prepare.


Anyway, I will tell you that I love vegetarian food. My favorite vegetarian restaurant has to be Lohas. There is a branch at Damansara Uptown, a few doors away from Hong Leong Bank. I was very impressed when I tasted their vegetarian Nasi Lemak. There is also an outlet at 1-Utama. If you want delicious organic vegetarian food, try Lohas.



This is the second time I am cooking this Spicy Indonesian Tempeh. The first time was a few years ago when I was home alone in exile during Chinese New Year. Yes, my self imposed exile was to de-stress from work and I did not want to be the cranky auntie who drove everyone nuts during the festive period. As you know, family gatherings can be quite stressful sometimes.


This tempeh dish is very aromatic as it has lemongrass and kafir lime leaves. I omitted the galangal as I did not have any on hand. The sweet taste and stickiness comes from caramelization of palm sugar (gula Melaka). I added more kafir lime leaves as I love the fresh aroma. I also noted that the leaves became almost crispy during the frying process. When I ate the tempeh, I ate the kafir lime leaves too. It was a bit chewy but released such a nice aroma that I wanted more! Next time, I will fry them until crispy for the fantastic aroma and added crunch.


Spicy Indonesian Tempeh
Recipe source : Asian Vegetarian Recipes (page 54)
(My notes and adaptations in red)

Ingredients :
- oil for shallow frying
- 250g tempeh, sliced
- 4 red Asian shallots, finely sliced
- 2-3 birds-eye chillies, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced (I used 4 cloves)
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh galangal (I omitted)
- 1 stem lemongrass, white part only, sliced
- 2 fresh kaffir lime leaves (I used 4 leaves)
- 2 tablespoons shaved palm sugar
- 1 tablespoon kicap manis (sweet soya sauce)
- 1 tablespoon light soya sauce or to taste

Method :
1. Heat 1.5cm oil in a large fying pan over high heat. Cook the tempeh in batches for 1-2 minutes or until lightly browned. Drain.
2. Heat the extra oil in a wok, add the shallots, chilli and garlic. Cook over medium heat for 3 minutes or until soft.
3. Add the remaining ingredients and 1/3 cup (80ml) water and cook for 2 minutes.
4. Reduce the heat, add the tempeh and simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until heated through. Add a little water, if necessary, to prevent any sticking.

Note : For the last step, after simmering, I increased the heat and kept stirring until the liquids became thick and sticky.


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This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs Up organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of My Little Favourite DIY and hosted by Mich of Piece of Cake.



This post is also linked to Cook-Your-Books #5 hosted by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours.

42 comments:

  1. My mom usually does a dark sauce or sambal for tempeh, but a spicy one like yours looks delicious, especially with the addition of all those yummy spices!

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    1. Hi Janine! Your mum's version sounds pretty delicious! I love tempeh anyhow it is cooked.

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  2. Hi Phong Hong, very nice tempeh dish. If this vegetarian dish is for religious purpose, onions have to be omitted. It is still yummy.

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    1. Thanks, Kimmy! I love onions and I wonder how food tastes without it. At Lohas, the waitress will give you an option whether you want onions or not.

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  3. Phong Hong, I love tempeh so much recently. Your looks very tempting!!!! Let's Lohas :)

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    1. Esther, yeah let's Lohas! Buy some tempeh and cook it. Can eat as much as you want :)

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  4. Phong Hong, this time the tempeh looks a bit different from last time I saw, guess that is due to the different way of cutting & cooking too? Looking at the plate of garlic, red shallots, lemongrass...wow, has more than enough to stimulate my taste buds, hehe!

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    1. Jessie, tempeh cooked this way is quite delicious. Nice aroma from lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. And I like the salty sweet taste. But my cili padi was not hot enough.

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  5. I can see that this dish is good looking at the sauce coated all well at the tempeh.

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    1. Mel, the sticky sauce was very nice!

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  6. OMG! I truly admire your cooking skills. If only my mom allows me to cook more, I would! In my home, I have been assigned to cook western food, The grilling, roasting etc. LOL.. It's only Monday, but you got me yearning for Indo food. ♥ Jo

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    1. Hi Jo! Thanks for the compliments :) Hey, ask your mum to let you cook more then you can cook tempeh for her hah! hah!

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  7. Hi PH, I know what you mean about the crispy kaffir leaves. I tried it before when I had some deep fried Thai pork and it comes with crispy kaffir leaves on top, and it's so yummy!

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    1. Hi Yen, it's good to know that you also appreciate the crispy kaffir lime leaves. It actually made me even more hungry which is not a good thing hah! hah!

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  8. Hi Phong Hong, my favourite tempeh looks totally tentalising here. Love this dish totally!

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  9. I didn't know this dish, looks very original to me

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    1. Ola, this food is probably very strange to you :)

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  10. Hi Phong Hong,
    You are making me lau-nuar! We only had leftovers for dinner today, and wishing I had this instead!
    I have not eaten tempeh in ages! Pass that plate over please!
    Thanks for sharing with CYB!

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    1. Hi Joyce! Hah! Hah! Why don't you buy some tempeh and cook it? Quite easily available at Aeon. Cheap too!

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  11. Oh, I've yet to try tempeh......... Don't know why, the look of it scares me. Hahaha! Mmm.... wonder how it tastes like.....

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    1. Shirley, it has a pleasant nutty taste. Try it if you can, you might get addicted :)

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  12. Replies
    1. Alvin, that comes from the palm sugar and sweet soya sauce. Tasted very good!

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  13. Interesting fact about tempeh that I didn't know before. Hmmm...yours looks really good! Not too fond of the ones we get here...other than the deep fried slices served as a side for the ayam penyet and even those, some may not do it well. Too hard.

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    1. Arthur, I think they probably over fried the tempeh that's why it is hard.

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  14. Eat this tempeh with a plate of nasi lemak , I bet they taste super!

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    Replies
    1. Ya Sonia, it will go very well with nasi lemak!

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  15. Great one! I need to bookmark this for my next tempeh dish. Need variety ways of cooking tempeh you know. ;)

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    1. I am also on lookout for more tempeh recipes :)

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  16. Hi Phong Hong,

    I like the sweet, sticky and spicy taste of these tempeh. I think I need to eat more than a plate :p

    Zoe

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    1. Zoe, you wouldn't believe it, I munched the whole plate in one sitting :)

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  17. Hi Phong Hong, I look see only. Thanks for the tempeh info. Nice pictures.

    Have a nice week ahead,regards.

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    1. Amelia, I know you don't like tempeh. Never mind, I cook something else for you :)

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  18. the tempeh looks like those peanut candies...LOL! dont get angry yaa..but i can see that the tempeh is very well coated with sauce and the rest of the ingredients sounds great..like a thai inspired flavours!

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    1. Lena, why should I be angry? hee..hee...now that you mention it, it does look like peanut candy :)

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  19. It looks like salty nougat! Interesting....
    I cook with tempeh once in a while so it is good to know an alternative way to prepare it. I usually stir-fry with long beans and spices.

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    1. Hi tigerfish! If you like tempeh, try this recipe. I snacked on it and finished the whole lot in one sitting. Very nice!

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  20. i like tempeh also, this is such a good recipe. will going to try this, but i will omitted the chilli padi ,ha... you now la, kids will not eat if got chilli.

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    1. xing hui, it is alright to skip the cili padi. Hope your boys like it :)

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  21. Phong Hong,
    Your recipe makes a very adcictive dish. I want more rice.

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    1. Hi butterfingers! Agreed that this is addictive. I finished everything in one sitting!

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