Sweet and Spicy Tempeh

With the temperatures starting to fall, it’s time to warm up by adding some spice to your life! This tasty dish is a winner in our Indonesian Banquet Cooking Class, and is as nutritious as it is delicious. If you’re not familiar with Tempeh, it is a traditional Indonesian product made from fermented soybeans. It has a nutty flavour and is packed with protein, fibre, vitamins and probiotic benefits. Tempeh is a terrific meat substitute if you’re trying to reduce your animal protein (like I am), and can be found in the vegetarian refrigerated section of most supermarkets. Serve this dish with steamed jasmine rice.

Ingredients (serves 3-4, or more as part of a banquet):
300g plain tempeh (fermented soybean), cut into 1cm cubes
Approx. ¼ cup vegetable or peanut oil for shallow frying
1 red onion, thinly sliced
3 birds eye chillies, finely chopped (leave seeds in if you like it hot)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, white part finely chopped
2 tablespoons kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
1 tablespoon grated palm sugar (substitute brown sugar)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
4 kaffir limes leaves (2 doubles)
¼ cup water

1. Heat the oil in a wok or sauté pan over a high heat, then add the tempeh and stir-fry until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the tempeh and set aside.
2. If necessary, add a little extra oil to the wok. Add the red onion, chillies, garlic and lemongrass and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes or until soft.
3. Add the kecap manis, palm sugar, soy sauce, kaffir lime leaves and water and simmer for 2 minutes.
4. Add the fried tempeh and simmer for 5 minutes or until the liquid is thick and sticky – add a little water to prevent it sticking if necessary.
5. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.

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