10 Delectable Malaysian Tempeh Recipes to Whet Your Appetite

Malaysia has a wide array of delicious food across the three major cultures that coexist here. Of all the dishes that we have here, most of what is popular worldwide happens to be of the meat variety such as delicious, tenderly cooked meat, be it chicken, beef, mutton or pork. However, Malaysian cuisine is so much more than that! From tofu to tempe, we have so many vegetarian options too!

Lesser Known Vegetarian Options

Malaysians are actually a health-conscious lot but instead of counting calories or cutting down the amount of food, we opt for balance. Therefore, our vegetable-based broths and soups are born!

One of our favourite ingredients to use is tempe; sometimes spelled tempeh. While in the West, tempeh is only beginning to gain recognition, it has always been used here as an excellent option for meat replacement.

Story of Tempeh

Tempeh is basically fermented soybean that originates from Java Indonesia. The taste of tempeh is quite bland yet there is a richness to it. So, if you want to eat tempeh, make sure it is well seasoned first. Any lack of flavour is certainly not with most Malaysian dishes!

In Malaysia, tempeh is usually made as a side or a supplementary ingredient when cooking a main dish. So, if you are looking into including tempeh into your diet, don’t bother trying out bland, boring recipes that are available out there and instead, try out these 10 delicious yet healthy Malaysian tempeh recipes.

We are not known as a melting pot of culture and race for nothing, you know.

1. Fried Tempeh

Credit: Flikr

Ingredients:

  • 2 packets of tempeh – cut into 8 for each packet
  • 1 cup of rice flour
  • 2 teaspoon of aniseed, pounded
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil

Method:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients except water and tempeh slices in a bowl. Mix well.
  2. Add in water, little by little, to find the perfect consistency.
  3. In a wok, heat up the 1/2 cup of oil on medium high heat until steam is rising.
  4. Dip the tempeh slices into the flour mixture. Use a spoon to make sure the tempeh is fully covered. Shake the tempeh to remove excess batter.
  5. Fry the batter coated-tempeh for three minutes til golden. Repeat steps 4-5 till all the tempeh slices are fried.

2. Fried Tempeh with Soy Sauce

Credit: Pinterest

Ingredients:

  • 2 packets of tempeh, cut into french-fry length strips
  • 15 birds’ eye chillies, ypu can reduce the amount depending on your spice-tolerance level
  • 1/2 cup of anchovies, washed thoroughly
  • 1 onions, sliced thinly
  • 5 dried chillies, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup of sweet soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil

Method:

  1. In a wok, add 1/2 cup of oil and heat it on medium high heat till steam rises.
  2. Fry the tempeh strips for 3-5 minutes til golden and crispy. Remove tempeh and put on top a plate lined with towel papers to absorb the excess oil.
  3. Remove the oil from the wok and left at least 2 tablespoons of oil in. Heat the oil on medium heat and add in the sliced birds’ eyes chillies and saute til fragrant.
  4. Add in the sliced onions, dried chillies and anchovies. Fry for 7 minutes til anchovies are golden and crispy.
  5. Add in the fried tempe. Mix well.
  6. Add in the sweet soy sauce and mix well. Fry for another 5 minutes. If you like a little sauce, add in 4 tablespoons of light soy sauce. Saute for another 2 minutes.
  7. Add in some sliced dried chillies and onions as garnish. Saute for around 2 minutes to add a little crispness to the sliced chillies and onions.

3. Javanese_Style Tempeh Stir-Fry

Credit: Blogopsi

Ingredients:

a) Ingredients to blend

  • 4 shallots
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup of anchovies, washed
  • 1 inch of galangal
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass
  • 5 tablespoons of chilli paste

b) Other Ingredients

  • 3 packets of tempeh – cut into bite-sized squares and fried til golden crispy
  • 4 tofus, cut into bite-sized squares and fried til golden
  • 8 long beans, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 5 medium-sized potatoes, sliced thinly and fried til golden
  • 3 red chillies, sliced
  • 2 packets of soo hoon, soaked
  • 1 packet fuchuk, cut into 3-4cm length and soaked
  • 10 dried chillies, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup of anchovies, fried til crispy and golden
  • 1 medium-sized onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of tamarind paste
  • 1/2 a box of coconut cream, mixed with 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 cup of sweet soy sauce
  • 5 tablespoons of vegetable oil

Method:

  1. In a wok, heat up the oil on medium high heat til steam rises.
  2. Add in the sliced shallots and garlic. Saute til fragrant.
  3. Add in the blended ingredients. Stir for 3 minutes til anchovies starting to turn golden.
  4. Add in the chilli paste, tamarind paste, salt and sugar.Masukkan pula cili kering blend, perahan air asam jawa dan perasakan dengan gula dan garam. Stir to mix and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add in the cut log beans, sliced red chillies, tofu and fuchuk.
  6. Cover the wok to soften the vegetables.
  7. After 10 minutes, add in the coconut milk and soy sauce. Reduce the flame and let simmer for another 5 minutes.
  8. Finally, add in the tempeh slices and potatoes. Mix well and stir for 5 minutes til the sambal looks slightly dry and shiny.

4. Dried Tempeh Curry with Marrow

Credit: quitegoodfood.co.nz

Ingredients:

a) Ingredients to blend

  • 2 red chillies
  • 6 dried chillies
  • 6 shallots
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2cm ginger

b) Other Ingredients

  • 500g of bone marrow, boiled til soft
  • 1 packet tempeh, cut into bite-sized squares
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass, crushed
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 sour slice (asam gelugor)
  • 3 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar

Method:

  1. In a pot, heat up the oil on medium heat until steam rises.
  2. Add in the blended ingredients. Stir for 3 minutes til fragrant.
  3. Add in the marrow and tempeh. Stir to mix.
  4. Add in the lemongrass, kaffir leaves and sour slice. Mix well.
  5. Reduce the flame and add in the coconut milk. If the coconut milk is too thick, add in 1/4 cup of water. Let it boil for about 5-10 minutes. Cover the pot to make the coconut milk cook faster.
  6. Season with salt and sugar as stated in the recipe or as much as needed.
  7. Close the pot with a lid again and let the sauce boil and thicken for another 5 minutes.

5. Tempeh Fried with Peanuts and Anchovies

Credit: Pinterest

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup of anchovies, washed and drained
  • 1/2 cup of ground peanuts
  • 2 packets of tempeh, cut into french-fry strips
  • 3 tablespoons of chilli paste
  • 4 tablespoons of oil
  • 3 sour slices (asam gelugor)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar

Method:

  1. In a wok, heat up the oil on medium heat till steam rises.
  2. Add in the ground peanuts and fry til crispy for about 5-10 minutes. Stir continuously to prevent the peanuts from burning. Take out and set aside.
  3. Add 3 tablespoons of oil and fry the tempeh strips til crispy for about 5 minutes. Once done, remove and set aside.
  4. Using the same oil, fry the anchovies for 7-10 minutes til crispy and golden. Once done, remove and set aside.
  5. In the same oil, saute the shallots and garlic til fragrant. Add in the chilli paste and saute for 5-7 minutes til the colour darkens.
  6. Add in the sour slices, sugar and salt. Stir to mix. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Once the chilli is almost dry, add in the fried anchovies, tempeh and panuts. Stir to mix.

6. Tempeh Sambal

Credit: Papaglamz

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet of tempeh, cut into strips of 1.5cm x 4cm
  • 2 potatoes, peeled, washed and cut into thin slices
  • 1 bowl of anchovies, washed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons of chilli paste
  • 3 teaspoons of sugar
  • 4 shallots, pounded finely
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1/4 cup of oil

Method:

  1. Rub the strips of tempeh with some turmeric and salt.
  2. Rub 1/2 teaspoon of salt on the sliced potatoes.
  3. On a wok, heat up the oil and fry the sliced potatoes til golden and crispy for 5 minutes, Remove from wok and set aside.
  4. In the same oil, fry the tempeh til crispy for 5 minutes. Once done, set aside. Add in the anchovies and fry til golden brown and crispy for 7 minutes. Once done, set aside.
  5. Remove half of the oil in the wok and add in the chilli paste. Stir continuously for 7 minutes til cooked. Add in the pounded shallots and saute til fragrant.
  6. Add in water and sugar. Stir to mix.
  7. Add in the fried potatoes, tempeh and anchovies and mix well.

7. Tempeh Patty

Credit: Selera Nusantara

Ingredients:

a) Ingredients to be pounded

  • 5 packets of tempeh
  • 1 onion
  • 1 shallot
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red chilli

b) Other ingredients

  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 stalk of spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli powder

Method:

  1. In a bowl, mix all the pounded ingredients with the beaten egg, sliced spring onions, salt, pepper and chilli powder. Mix til combine.
  2. Shape the mixture into balls and flatten it using your palm to turn it into a patty.
  3. In a wok, heat 1/2 cup of oil on medium high heat and wait til tiny bubbles forming on the surface.
  4. Fry the patties for 5 minutes til golden brown.

8. Tempeh in Spicy Turmeric Sauce

Credit: Nicefood

Ingredients:

a) Other ingredients

  • 2 packets of tempeh, cut into 10 pieces each
  • 2 tofu, sliced
  • 1 cup of cauliflower florets
  • 2 cups of coconut cream
  • 2 sour slices (asam gelugor)
  • 2 turmeric leaves
  • Salt and sugar to taste

b) Ingredients to blend

  • 20 bird’s eye chillies
  • 4 shallots
  • 1 inch of turmeric
  • 1/2 cup of water

Method:

  1. In a pot, add in 3 tablespoons of oil and heat on medium high. Add in the tempeh and blended ingredients. Cook for about 10 minutes til boiling.
  2. Add in the coconut cream, tofu, cauliflower, sour slices, turmeric leaves, salt and sugar.
  3. Stir gently and let it boil for another 10-15 minutes til sauce thickens.

9. Salt & Pepper Tempeh Chips

Credit: Ajwa Delight

Ingredients:

  • 3 packets of tempeh, sliced thinly using a cutter
  • 6 cloves of garlic powder, pounded to paste
  • 3 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli powder
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup of oil

Method:

  1. In a bowl, add in the pounded garlic, chilli powder and coriander powder. Add in the water, little by little til it reaches the thick consistency you desire.
  2. Dip in the sliced tempeh into the mixture. Tap gently at the side of the bowl to remove excess batter.
  3. In a wok, heat the oil on medium high heat. Wait til bubbles start to form before starting to fry the tempeh slices.
  4. Fry the tempeh slices for 3-5 minutes til golden brown.
  5. Placed the fried tempeh chips on a plate covered with a piece of tissue in order to absorb the excess oil.
  6. Once cool, sprinkle salt and pepper over the chips. Shake gently to mix.

10. Tempeh and Tapioca Leaf Cooked in Coconut Broth

Credit: cookpad.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 bunches of tapioca shoots, leaves plucked and washed thoroughly
  • 3 lemongrass, slightly pounded
  • 1.5l second-pressed coconut milk
  • 500ml coconut cream
  • 1/4 cup water (if needed)
  • 1 red chilli, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of dried shrimp, soaked for 10 minutes, drained and roughly blended
  • 3 packets of tempeh, cut into bite-sized cubes

Method:

  1. Fill water til half of pot and boil the tapioca shoot with 1/2 teaspoon of salt on medium heat. Boil for about 5-10 minutes til leaves are soft.
  2. Drain and rinse leaves under tap water. Squeeze leaves gently to remove excess water and slice leaves roughly. Set aside.
  3. In another pot, heat up 3 tablespoons of oil on medium high heat. Add in the onions, lemongrass, garlic and dried shrimp. Saute til fragrant and onions brown slightly.
  4. Add in second-pressed coconut milk. Boil for 10 minutes before adding the tempeh. Let cook for another 5 minutes. Add water once the coconut broth has reduced.
  5. Add in the tapioca shoots and coconut cream. Season with salt and sugar. Mix well and let the broth simmer for 3 minutes.
  6. Finally add in the sliced red chillies and taste one more time. If still under seasoned, add 1 teaspoon of salt.

Can’t Get Enough of Tempeh?

If you want more Malaysian recipes using tempeh, don’t forget to drop a comment here or simply send us a shout-out at on our social media platforms. So DM, tweet or drop a message on our page about it and we’ll quickly whip up something for you to further explore the world of tempeh.

For now, I’m just going to leave you here with these 10 recipes. Wonder which recipe you’ll start making first?

print
Azrene Jasmine
Azrene Jasmine

Azrene Jasmine is a Penangite with a stomach of gold. Though currently she is in a love/hate relationship with the weighing scale, Azrene truly believes that every woman should choose a hunk of juicy steak over a bowl of salad on the first date because steaks are awesome and what man can resist a woman with a healthy appetite?

Love Malaysian food and culture? Find Malaysian recipes and stories on culture here in the Butterkicap community. Join us.

Sign up for Butterkicap

Tweet us 
@butterkicap

Show the world just how amazing Malaysian food is.

Hashtag us at #butterkicap

Something is wrong.
Instagram token error.
Load More