Inspired by a recipe for Sambal Goreng (Indonesian spiced tempeh) found in an old issue of Saveur Magazine, this unexpectedly delicious dish will have you wondering why you haven’t been eating tempeh forever. For those of you who are unfamiliar, tempeh is what happens when soybeans undergo controlled fermentation and fuse together to form a firm patty with a meaty texture. I know it doesn’t sound super appealing, but trust me, it can be, when prepared correctly! The taste is less neutral and more nutty than tofu, but can usually be used in similar applications. As it originates from Indonesia, I believe that the best way to try it for the first time, or to rediscover it, is by cooking it Indonesian style: with a whole lot of garlic and spice!
Indonesian Style Tempeh with Black Garlic
1 slab tempeh, cut into rectangular cubes
1/2 cup olive oil + 1/4 cup for frying
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tomatoes, peeled, small dice
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 red chili, minced
1 habanero pepper, minced
2 tsp paprika
3 cloves black garlic, minced
NOTE: if you cannot find black garlic, add an extra tbsp of soy sauce.
2 cups rice, cooked (for serving)
Method / Instructions
Heat 1/4 cup oil in large skillet or saucepan. Over medium heat, fry tempeh until golden, about 2 minutes on each side. Drain and set aside.
Combine olive oil, tomato paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar together in a medium saucepan Whisk until combined. Add garlic, tomatoes, peppers & spices. Whisk in a few tbsp water if mixture seems to thick (some brands of tomato paste are thicker than others!). Heat over medium, careful not to boil. Add tempeh & black garlic to pot. Simmer together for 15 minutes, lightly stirring.
Serve over rice.