sambal-goreng-tempe

Sambal Goreng Tempe

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Sambal is a chile condiment eaten all over Indonesia and of which there are hundreds of variations; sambal goreng (which translates to “fried sambal” in Indonesian), is the whole class of dishes that start with frying that sambal in hot oil to make a spice paste called bumbu. This version of sambal goreng is my go-to, with tempe (spelled “tempeh” in English) that’s fried until crunchy, nutty, and irresistibly toasty. You can think of this as your new favorite “whatever’s in the pantry” recipe and swap the vegetables or tag out the tempeh for another protein (diced chicken, thin slices of pork or beef, or firm tofu all work). 

The heart of a good sambal goreng is the sambal itself, and this version is fragrant with ginger, garlic, and shallots, the tang of tamarind, and the defining warmth of chiles. If you can’t find kecap manis, you can substitute it with a mix of 3 Tbsp. dark soy sauce mixed with 3 Tbsp. light brown sugar. For the tamarind concentrate or paste, you can mix 2½ tsp. fresh lime juice with 2½ tsp. light brown sugar. For those less keen on deep-frying, you can also pan-fry tempeh: Heat ¼ cup vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook tempeh about 3 minutes per side, adding additional oil between batches if needed. —Lara Lee

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Ingredients

4 servings

2

8-oz. packages tempeh

¼

cup vegetable oil, plus more for frying (3–4 cups)

1

tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt, plus more

3

large or 4 medium shallots

1

2″ piece ginger

1

large or 2 small plum tomatoes

6

garlic cloves

4–6

red serrano or Fresno chiles

3

.5 oz. green beans

½

large bunch Tuscan or curly kale (about 6 oz.)

2

lemongrass stalks

4

makrut (Thai) lime leaves (optional)

3

Tbsp. kecap manis

1

Tbsp. grated palm sugar or light brown sugar

1

2

tsp. ground coriander

1

cup salted dry-roasted peanuts

Steamed white rice (for serving)

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