Stir-Fried Sliced Tempeh (Vegan)

This simple tempeh recipe is a stripped-down version of oseng-oseng tempe. Here, the tempeh is stir-fried with onions, garlic and chilies.

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Deyana Goh
Deyana Goh
Deyana was born in Singapore and lives there. She is half-Chinese, half-Arab, with a grandmother who was born to an Arab family in Bogor, Indonesia. Deyana grew up eating Indonesian food as it is cooked in Arab-Indonesian households, and has fond memories of the festive whole chicken stuffed with lamb.

This simple stir-fried tempeh recipe is a slightly different, slightly stripped-down version of oseng-oseng tempe, a dish commonly cooked in Indonesian homes.

In oseng-oseng tempe, the tempeh is first fried to firm it up, and afterwards it is stir-fried or shallow-fried with spices and other ingredients. The ingredients may vary from family to family, and this recipe is one I cook at home all the time. It’s a good option if you need protein but can’t or don’t want to eat meat. 

Compared to our previous recipe, this omits oyster sauce (which my family doesn’t really use), galangal (the galangals here come in big packs and most tend to go to waste), sweet soy sauce (my family doesn’t like sweet food) and salam leaves or Indonesian bay leaves (too lazy to go on a cross-country tour to find them). Instead of sweet soy sauce, I’ve included light soy sauce to give the dish a fuller flavour.  


In this recipe, rather than frying the tempeh raw, straight out of the packet, I’ve followed in my grandmother’s footsteps and soaked it in diluted tamarind for a short while. This gives a tinge of sourness to the dish, and is less overwhelming than adding the tamarind while cooking. However, do note that if you fry tamarind-soaked tempeh, it won’t turn out crispy – one of the many chemical mysteries of cooking.

If you’re going for a healthier version, you can skip frying the tempeh beforehand and go straight to stir-frying it. In this case, do handle the tempeh gently, or you risk breaking it into little pieces. The colour will also be slightly paler and you won’t get the glaze, but it’ll still be tasty.

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Stir-Fried Sliced Tempeh

Stir-Fried Sliced Tempeh (Vegan)

  • Author: Deyana Goh
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 3 1x
  • Category: Tofu & Tempeh
  • Method: Stir-fry
  • Cuisine: Indonesian
  • Diet: Vegan


This is another recipe for oseng-oseng tempeh, using ingredients that can be found easily outside Indonesia, and is completely vegan. Here, the tempeh is stir-fried with onions, garlic and chillies.


  • 150g tempeh, sliced
  • 2 tsp tamarind paste, diluted in 300ml water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and sliced
  • 3 big red chillies, sliced
  • 7 green bird’s eye chillies, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 50 ml water
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil


  1. Soak the sliced tempeh in the diluted tamarind paste and 1 tsp salt. Set aside for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the ingredients. 
  3. Drain the tempeh and pat dry.
  4. In a wok, heat up the vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
  5. Fry the tempeh until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  6. Lower the heat on the wok and add the sliced onion. Saute until soft and slightly brown, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add the garlic and all the chillies. Saute for 2 minutes.
  8. Add the light soy sauce, the 50ml water, and the fried tempeh.
  9. Increase the heat and stir until all the liquid evaporates, about 5-8 minutes.
  10. The tempe is ready!

    Stir-Fried Sliced Tempeh is ready


  • For a complete vegetarian/vegan meal, enjoy this tempeh dish with steamed rice, a sambal of your choice, and basic sayur asem.

Keywords: Quick and Easy, Spicy, common ingredients

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