Sambal Goreng Tempe (Fried Tempeh in Tomato Sambal)

  • Serves

    serves 6


In this Balinese lunch dish, tempeh—fermented soybean cake—is fried until golden and then tossed in a fiery tomato-and-chile sauce. This recipe first appeared in our May 2014 issue with the story Tempting Tempeh.


  • 12 cup canola oil
  • 1 lb. plain tempeh, cut into 1/2" x 1" pieces, 1/2" thick
  • 12 tsp. Indonesian shrimp paste
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 Holland chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 small red Thai chiles, stemmed
  • 1 plum tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 2 tsp. kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • Cooked white rice, for serving


Step 1

Heat 1⁄3 cup oil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry tempeh until golden brown, 3–4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer tempeh to paper towels to drain; discard oil. Purée shrimp paste, garlic, chiles, tomatoes, and salt in a food processor until smooth. Add remaining oil to pan; heat over medium-high. Cook paste until fragrant, 12–15 minutes. Stir in reserved tempeh and the kecap manis; serve with rice, if you like.

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