Tempe Goreng: Deep Fried Tempeh (Vegan)

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Nunuk Sri Rahayu
Nunuk Sri Rahayu
Nunuk hails from Solo, the historic royal capital and cultural centre of Java, Indonesia. She has been cooking since the age of 12, and also performs and teaches traditional Javanese dance. Her dream is to eventually write her own Indonesian cookbook.

Tempe goreng, or fried tempeh, is one of the simplest and yet most delicious foods ever I’ve known. It makes a regular appearance at many Indonesians dining tables, and dearly reminds us of home when we’re overseas. 

Indonesians love the humble tempeh — it is so commonplace that it is rarely given its due credit. Despite its ubiquity, it brings health benefits and emotional value for the society. As Indonesians, how many times have we complained about having to eat tempeh so often? Especially instead of other, more expensive meat dishes! And yet, when tempeh is missing from our lives, we miss it terribly, especially when we’ve emigrated. Then, tempeh suddenly becomes a treasure. We traverse great distances in our hunt for tempeh, and when we finally find it, it’s as if we’ve just struck gold.


The raw tempeh is spiced using garlic, coriander, turmeric and salt, and then deep fried until it turns golden brown. Because tempeh has a sponge-like texture, it absorbs all the spices. The result is a tasty, fragrant, garlicky chunk with a hint of coriander. It’s very delicious. 

You can eat Tempe goreng with a whole bird’s eye chilli or chilli sauce/ketchup as a snack, or with steamed rice and sambal. You can also make the leftover tempe goreng into a fiery sambal, which I will feature in the future. Enjoy this wholesome dish anytime, any day.

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Tempe Goreng: Deep Fried Tempeh (Vegan)

Tempe Goreng: Deep Fried Tempeh (Vegan)

  • Author: Cook Me Indonesian
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Tofu & Tempeh, Snacks
  • Method: Deep Fry
  • Cuisine: Indonesian
  • Diet: Vegan


Tempe goreng is a ubiquitous Indonesian dish served in every home, consisting of lightly-marinated tempeh that’s deep fried. It’s easy, tasty and vegan, and can be eaten as a snack or with rice.


  • 300 gr tempeh
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tsp whole coriander seeds
  • 2 cm turmeric, peeled
  • Salt to taste
  • 50 ml water
  • Cooking oil for deep frying


  1. Cut the tempeh into small slices, according to the size of your preference. Set aside.
  2. Using a mortar and pestle, pound into a fine paste: garlic, coriander, turmeric and salt.Pound the spices


  3. Add water to the garlic paste, mix thoroughly (if using a blender or food processor, blend all the spices and water together).
  4. Press the tempeh pieces lightly into the spice paste mix one by one, then marinate for about 5 minutes.


  5. Heat the cooking oil in a deep frying pan over medium flame.
  6. Fry the tempeh until it turns golden, around 3 minutes each side.Fry the tempe


  7. Place the tempeh on a plate covered with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
  8. Transfer the fried tempeh onto a serving plate.


  • Tempe goreng is one of the simplest tempeh dishes, and is suitable for vegetarians and vegans as it’s protein-rich and contains no animal product. 

Keywords: Soy bean, fermented, protein, quick & easy, non-spicy, common ingredients

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  1. I had this dish when I visited Yogyakarta, and I was so happy when I found your recipe—it tastes just like it did there! Super easy to make and perfect with bird’s eye chilies!!! The only problem is I’m pretty much addicted to tempe now 🤷🏻‍♀️

    • Great to hear it turned out real authentic! Thanks Nola for your kind words. As for tempe addiction…we’ve all got it, nothing to worry about!


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