For the average Indonesian, animal protein is costly and is not served at every meal. Most people will alternate between animal and plant-based proteins for their daily intake. The most common plant-based proteins are tofu and tempeh. Tempeh, which is indigenous to Indonesia, is an especially excellent source of protein. Most importantly, it is affordable and delicious.
Tempeh has a firm texture and uncooked tempeh tastes quite bland. However, it absorbs spices like sponge, making it the perfect blank slate for some very tasty dishes. Tempeh is quite versatile too — it can be grilled, fried, sauteed, steamed, boiled, and more! Good tempeh will hold its texture no matter what the cooking method is.
The recipe below uses one of the most common cooking methods for tempeh: oseng-oseng means stir-fried. This is a common technique throughout East and Southeast Asia.
The spices used in traditional oseng-oseng tempeh are classic, but we’ve made it rather special by adding oyster sauce, which makes it richer. This dish is supposed to be eaten with rice. But after cooking it, I found myself walking back and forth to the kitchen to scoop a spoonful of tempeh into my mouth. It’s so irresistible, you can eat it on its own!Print
A classic tempeh recipe, where the fermented soy cakes are cut into little cubes and sautéed with spices and glazed. We’ve added a twist to the recipe by including oyster sauce for a richer flavour.
- 250 gr tempeh, cut in cubes of 1×1 cm
- 5 small shallots, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 5 red chillies, sliced diagonally
- 5 green chillies, sliced diagonally
- 2 fresh or dried salam leaves (can be omitted if it’s not available)
- 3 cm galangal, peeled, thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp sweet soy sauce
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- ⅓ cup of water
- Salt to taste
- Deep fry the tempeh cubes until golden. Set aside.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a wok. Then, saute the red and green chillies for about 2 minutes. Set aside.
- Using the same wok, saute the shallots, garlic, galangal and salam leaves until fragrant, around 4 minutes.
- Add water.
- Add the soy sauce, oyster sauce and salt. Keep stirring until the mixture boils, then add the fried tempeh.
- Cook until all the liquid is absorbed and the tempeh is beautifully glazed. Turn of the heat.
- Add the sautéed red and green chillies and mix well.
- Transfer the tempe into a serving plate.
- The red and green chillies will give a more complex flavour to this dish, but if you cannot tolerate spicy food, feel free to exclude them.
Keywords: Spicy, Oyster Sauce, Green Chili, Red Chili