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Tempe Manis

Serves 4

© by Louise Haggar


  • Unsalted Peanuts or Unsalted Roasted Peanuts 90 g
  • Tempeh 400 g, cut into 1 x 3 cm chunks
  • Salt a large pinch
  • Banana Shallots 3 small or 6 Thai Shallots peeled and thinly sliced
  • Garlic 4 cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Long Red Chillies 4, thinly sliced (deseeded if you prefer less heat)
  • Lemongrass 1 stalk, bruised and tied in a knot
  • Kaffir Lime Leaves 4 or 2 Bay Leaves
  • Ginger or Galangal 6 thin slices, skin on
  • Mangetout 200g, trimmed
  • Kecap Manis 3 Tbs, plus optional extra for grilling
  • Palm Sugar 2 Tbs or 2 Tbs Brown Sugar mixed with 2 Tbs water
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Coconut Oil or Sunflower Oil for frying

Cook It

  1. If roasting your own peanuts, preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6, scatter the peanuts over a baking tray and bake for 5–10 minutes or until golden, shaking the tray during cooking so they roast evenly. Set aside. If using shop-bought roasted peanuts you can skip this step.
  2. Heat 4 tablespoons of oil with a large pinch of salt in a frying pan over a high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add half the tempeh and fry until golden, about 3–4 minutes, then drain on a tray lined with paper towels. Repeat with the remaining tempeh, adding a little more oil if necessary. Alternatively, if you prefer to grill your tempeh, brush it with a mixture of 1 tablespoon each of oil and kecap manis and place it under the grill on a high heat for 3–4 minutes each side.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the shallots, garlic and chillies with the lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and ginger or galangal until fragrant and softened. Increase the heat to high, add another 1 tablespoon of oil and cook the mangetout for 1 minute. Add the fried tempeh and roasted peanuts, stirring them continuously. Finally, add the kecap manis and sugar and water mix to the pan, stirring until it is caramelised and clinging to the ingredients. Season with salt. Remove the lemongrass stalk and slices of ginger or galangal, then serve immediately.


Recipe excerpted from Coconut & Sambal: Recipes from my Indonesian Kitchen by Lara Lee. Food photography by Louise Hagger (C) 2020 Reproduced by permission of Bloomsbury. All rights reserved.

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