This Indonesian fried tempeh dish (aka Tempe Goreng) combines tempeh slices with an aromatic combination of ingredients to simmer, then shallow fry until wonderfully fragrant and crispy! Perfect for serving alongside rice, noodles, stir-fries, and more! Gluten-free, dairy-free, and 100% naturally vegan.
Slice the tempeh into ¼-inch thick strips (about 0.6-0.7 cm).
Prepare the remaining ingredients. Peel and roughly chop the shallots. Peel the turmeric, ginger, and galangal. Roughly chop the lemongrass into smaller pieces.
Add all the aromatics and the salt to a small food processor or blender and process until finely chopped.Alternatively, you can mince the ingredients individually or manually grind them using a mortar and pestle. If you want to serve the tempe goreng as a stir-fried dish WITH the sauce, make sure all the ingredients are very finely diced/processed (particularly the lemongrass).
Step 2: Simmer the tempeh
Add the aromatic mixture to a large pan (to fit as many of the tempeh slices as possible) with the water and stir.
Add the tempeh slices, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the water evaporates.During this time, the tempeh will soak up the aromatic flavors that it's stewing with and pick up a golden yellow color thanks to the turmeric.
After this, the tempeh is technically fine to eat but will be very tender. So I like to go one more step to crisp it up for delicious tempe Goreng (fried tempeh).
Step 3: Fry the tempeh
Add a swirl of oil to a skillet (enough to cover the bottom of the pan for a shallow fry) and wait for it to heat over medium-high heat.
Then add the tempe to the pan and lightly fry for several minutes per side until a dark golden brown and crispy. Then serve and enjoy!
How to Store?
Store: I like to eat the fried tempeh as soon as it's cooked. However, you may be able to save the leftovers. I recommend storing them in an airtight container for 1-2 days.Reheat: I recommend reheating the Tempe Goreng in a pan on the stovetop to bring it back to a crispy consistency. Heat until warmed through.
For crumbled fried tempeh: this dish works well when frying tempeh in slices OR as crumbs. To make the tempeh "crumbs," finely dice the boiled tempeh before adding it to the pan. That way, it will become even crispier!
This method will also work with tofu: if you cannot get your hands on tempeh, then use firm tofu (pressed).
If you can't find galangal: you can simply omit it and use a little additional ginger if preferred (or omit entirely).
Optional Add-Ins and recipe variations:
Sambal Goreng tempe: you can add chili and/or sambal oelek to the aromatic mixture for a spicy version of this dish. Traditionally sambal tempe will include a mix of sambal paste with tomato puree, soy sauce, and coconut sugar. So feel free to experiment. Adjust the amount to taste. I recommend between 1-2 small red chilies (de-veined and de-seeded).
Vegetables: to make a quick tempeh stir-fry, you can light sauté some vegetables with the pan-fried tempeh. I recommend kale, green beans, mini corn, and/or cauliflower florets.
Lime: You can serve with some lime wedges or simply add a little lime juice to the pan when boiling for added 'brightness' to the fried tempeh.
Check the blog post for more tips and serving suggestions!