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Ruana Tahitu, Contributor, The Netherlands

Tempeh Sambal Goreng Reicpe

Serving: approx. 4 people


  • 1 block of tempeh, diced (250 g)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger/laos
  • 1 teaspoon of trassi (optional for vegetarians)
  • 2-3 teaspoons of sambal of choice
  • 3 tbs. Ketjap manis
  • 2 tbs. Ketjap asin
  • 2 tbs. White vinegar
  • 2-3 tbs. Dutch keukenstroop
  • Boiling water
  • 10 tbs. Sunflour oil (or other oil to fry in)


Heat up a big pan with 4-6 tablespoons of oil. Once the oil is hot, throw in the diced tempeh. Once the tempeh has an even golden-brown color, take it out of the pan and put it on a plate with a paper towel underneath, so that the access oil can leak on to the paper. Let the tempeh cool off for a little bit and start with making your boemboe (sauce).

To start with your boemboe, heat up a big wok on medium heat and again, add a generous amount of oil (approx. 3-4 tablespoons). Throw in your sliced onions. Let them glaze and turn translucent, and then add in your finely cut ginger and 1 clove of garlic. After a couple of minutes add in your trassi. Once the strong scent of the trassi has reduced, add in your sambal and spices. Next, you add the tempeh again with approx. 3 tablespoons of ketjap manis, and approx. 1-2 tablespoons of ketjap asin. This part you will have to eyeball a little bit, but make sure the amount of ketjap is enough to give the tempeh an even dark brown coating.

Let the boemboe and tempeh cook on medium heat for about a minute. Then add 2 table spoons of vinegar – don’t worry, the sourness will evaporate in the heat and it will just leave really nice slight tanginess. Now, let the tempeh cook on medium heat again for a couple of minutes until most of the moisture is gone. Make sure to stir it from time to time.

Now add some boiling water to your tempeh. Make sure it is not too much, but should be just enough to cover the bottom of the pan – but not so that the tempeh is completely saturated. Now, leave the tempeh on medium heat again and bring your boemboe and tempeh to a boil. You can put a lid on the pan to speed up the process, but make sure to check it and keep stirring periodically so it won’t stick to the pan. This process will help make sure the tempeh will absorb all the flavours of the boemboe, inside and out. J

Once most of the water has evaporated, you should be left with dark-brown tempeh and quite a sticky boemboe. To add some sweetness and more stickiness to the tempeh, we will now add stroop. Dutch kitchen stroop is great for this, but if you don’t have it, you can also use dark sugar, or palm sugar.

About 2-3 tablespoons of stroop will do the trick. This will darken the tempeh even further and caramelize it. Keep stirring your tempeh once you’ve added the stroop, because it is more likely to stick to the pan now. Cook on low heat let it sit for approx. 7 minutes. At this point you can also add more ketjap, sambal or spices – all according to your taste.

Now your tempeh sambal goreng is done! Selamat makan!