In this Indonesian dish, tempeh is deep-fried and then cooked in a hot and spicy sauce. Lemongrass, galangal, bay leaves, and kaffir lime leaves bring different flavors while habanero brings the heat. Adjust the amount of peppers according to how spicy you like it and serve with steamed rice so that the tempeh is the main focus.

Tempe Tumis Cabe Gendot: Indonesian Stir-Fry Habanero Tempeh [Vegan]

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Cooking Time



  • 17.6 ounces tempeh, cut into matchsticks
  • 8 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 lemongrass, bruised and knotted
  • 1-inch piece galangal, bruised
  • 2-4 habanero, seeded and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 or more cups water
  • 4 tablespoon sweet soy sauce


  1. Deep-fry the tempeh until crispy and golden brown. Set aside.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoon oil and sauté shallot, garlic, bay leaves, lime leaves, lemongrass, and galangal until fragrant. About 3 minutes.
  3. Add habanero and sauté for another minute.
  4. Add salt, sugar, water, and sweet soy sauce. Cook until it bubbles and the sauce is reduced by 50 percent.
  5. Return the fried tempeh and mix well with the sauce. Cook until the sauce has all been absorbed by the tempeh and the tempeh is coated with a glossy sheen.
  6. Turn off the heat and discard the leaves and lemongrass. Transfer to a serving plate and serve with steamed white rice.

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