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Fried Sweet Tempeh Recipe (Tempe Bacem) - A Vegetarian Dish

Updated on March 22, 2012
Tempeh bacem (tempe bacem) - Indonesian Fried Sweet Tempeh
Tempeh bacem (tempe bacem) - Indonesian Fried Sweet Tempeh | Source

Tempeh, the most loved foods in Indonesia, is Indonesian delicacy made of soy beans. Due to high protein, fiber, vitamin and other nutritional value, tempeh is preferred meat substitute by vegetarians. It has firm and meaty texture with nutty and earthy flavors. It can be fix in any dishes such as stir-fries, fries, stews, soups, salad, sandwiches.

Indonesian especially Javanese love tempeh bacem, a traditional tempeh dish. It's a dish consist of tempeh slow cooked in palm sugar, coconut water, bay leaves, galangal, shallot, garlic and coriander. The coriander infused tempeh then deep fried into perfection. It's sweet, nutty and full of flavors. This sweet tempeh is served with steamed rice.

Here is how to prepare tempeh bacem (fried sweet tempeh). Coconut water is not the same with coconut juice. It's a clear liquid inside of the coconut. Coconut juice mostly contain pulps and sugar. The best way to get coconut water is from fresh coconut but it's not available, you are always welcome to replace it with water.

What You Need

Serves 4 - 6


10.5 oz tempeh, cut into 2-inches x 2 1/2-inches pieces

3 tbsp palm sugar

3 daun salam (Indonesian bay leaves)

1 piece galangal (1/2-inch), smashed

1 1/4 cup coconut water or water

1 tamarind paste

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup cooking oil

Spice paste:

2 cloves garlic

5 Asian shallots

1 tsp coriander seeds

How to Fix

  • Use mortar and pestle to grind garlic, shallot and coriander seeds into a coarse paste. Set aside.
  • In a bowl, combine coconut water, spice paste, palm sugar, salt, and tamarind paste. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  • In a saucepan, add tempeh, galangal and bay leaves. Then pour the coconut water mixture over the tempeh.
  • Bring this coconut water mixture and tempeh to a rolling boiling over high heat. Then lower the heat to gentle simmer. Cook the tempeh with low heat about 25 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let it cool.
  • Heat a cup of oil over high heat. Then add tempeh slices. Deep fry the tempeh about 5 minutes or until golden brown on both sides. Remove from the oil and drain.
  • Transfer to a serving dish and enjoy it with warm steamed rice and sambal (chili sauce).


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    • jojokaya profile image

      jojokaya 6 years ago from USA

      @anglnwu: thanks. I think its the best tempeh dish:)

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 6 years ago

      Yum, I love your recipes. I used to eat tempeh while in Singapore but now, I can hardly find them. I should try to get hold of some and make it the way you suggest. Must be terribly delicious. Thanks for sharing.


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