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Tempe Bacem: Deep Fried Spiced Tempe

Tempe Bacem: Deep Fried Spiced Tempe (Vegan)

  • Author: Nunuk Sri Rahayu
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 3 1x
  • Category: Vegetables, Snacks
  • Method: Frying
  • Cuisine: Indonesian
  • Diet: Vegan


The star of this dish is the tempe, or, fermented soy cake, which is one of Indonesia’s greatest contributions to the culinary world. Boiled with spices and then deep fried, tempe bacem can be eaten as a vegan, protein-rich snack, or with rice.


  • 250 grams tempe, cut in small pieces depending on the shape of the tempe. If it’s block-shaped, you can cut it into 2x2 cm blocks.
  • 8 small shallots
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbs coriander seeds
  • 100 grams palm sugar
  • 1 tsp tamarind juice (optional)
  • 3 cm galangal, bruised
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup coconut water OR plain water
  • Salt to taste
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying

Tempe Bacem ingredients


  1. Using a food-processor or blender, blend the shallots, garlic, coriander seeds and palm sugar into a smooth paste.
  2. Put the tempe in a cooking pan. Add the shallot paste, tamarind juice, galangal, bay leaves, salt and coconut water OR plain water.
  3. Cook the tempe on medium heat. When the liquid starts to boil, reduce the heat. Continue cooking on a small flame until all the liquid is absorbed/evaporated. Turn off the heat. Set aside.
  4. Prepare a frying pan or wok for deep-frying. Deep fry the tempe until it turns golden-brown.
  5. Transfer to a serving plate. Serve with either fresh chillies or steamed rice, or both!


  • If coconut water is available, using it instead of plain water will improve the flavour significantly, but otherwise it’s still delicious.

Keywords: Vegetarian, Vegan, Non-spicy, Soy