Tempeh is such a good source of protein. My go to tempeh recipe is to fry it, like in my super easy fried tofu and tempeh recipe. But, It can be boring if that’s the only way I cook tempeh. My family will be tired of tempeh and refuse eating it.

In this recipe, I diced the tempeh and fried it. Not until is done and brown, but just halfway until it’s sort of light brown in color. And for the sauce that will slather all over the tempeh, chili sauce! The end result is not too spicy. Really.

Ingredients for spicy sambal tempeh: tempeh, salt, pepper, sugar, tomato, garlic, shalot, lime leaf, lemongrass, bayleaf, brown sugar, candlenut, ginger, chilli.


I use rather complex spices and herbs to really make this recipe tasty. The aroma.. when all those spices blend together in hot wok… hmmm…

General rule for me in cooking indonesian food, lemongrass and bay leaf are good for elevating dish, it add layers of aroma. Next, if chili pepper is involved, good to add lime leaves. It mostly applies to something I cook using wok, stir fry, dishes with a bit of sauce.. Not so much for fried stuff and soup.

Addition of tomato and brown sugar helps to reduce spiciness of the dish. If you like spicy stuff, skip the tomato and reduce the brown sugar.

While the tempeh was fried, I toasted the candlenut for a minute. Then I blend with some water, garlic, shalllot, toasted candlenut, ginger, tomato, and chili pepper. Thank god for blender. I cannot imagine the old days where all must be done using mortar and pestle. I won’t be cooking.

Don’t start cooking the blended spices before the tempeh is done. Strain the tempeh.

In a wok or pan, heat up some cooking oil. Add the blended spices, brown sugar, lemongrass, bay leaf, lime leaf, salt, pepper, and sugar. Let it boil until the water reduced. It’s time for taste correction. Add more salt or sugar depends how you like it.

My spicy sambal tempeh almost done.

Then, add the halfway cooked tempeh. Cook until the rest of liquid absorbed by the tempeh.

It is one very tasty, very flavorful dish. It goes very well with rice (like most of Indonesian dish. Hehe..)

For vegetable intake needs, I cooked some stir fry sprout and green beans to goes with spicy sambal tempeh. It is one very filling and satisfying vegetarian dish.

My spicy sambal tempeh with rice and sprout and green bean stir fry.

Tempeh with chili sauce

Tempeh with chili sauce


  • 400 gr tempeh
  • cooking oil for frying
  • 6 cloves shallot
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 8 pcs chili pepper
  • 1 pcs tomato
  • 1 cm ginger
  • 3 candlenut (toasted)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 lime leaves
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • salt, pepper and sugar to taste


  1. Fried the tempeh halfway
  2. Blend together shallot, garlic, chili pepper, tomato, ginger, candlenut, and water
  3. In hot pan, with a little oil, cook the blended ingredients
  4. Add lemongrass, lime leaves, bay leaves, brown sugar, salt, pepper and sugar
  5. Add the tempeh
  6. Cook until remaining water adsorb by tempeh.
  7. Tempeh with chili sauce is ready