Asian Dishes, Malay, Sides

Tempeh Manis

I love tempeh – fermented soya bean cake. I love it love it love it. I also understand that non-Malays may not know this food item (what is it anyway? a vegetable? a bean?) nor like it. I have met some non-Malay friends who told me they do not like it. Did I say how much I love tempeh? I do I do I do.

One tempeh dish that my mother makes is tempeh manis, and it is also one of the first dishes I learnt to cook before I got married. My late father, when I cooked it for the first time, made a face and told me point blank that it wasn’t nice. My mother then asked me what I put inside. I told her, amongst other things, salt and pepper. And there you go, the folly of youth. You do not add pepper and salt to the dish. It is after all, tempeh manis (sweet).


4 tempeh pieces, thinly sliced ( I do not like the ones thickly sliced)

1 onion, sliced

1 red chilli, sliced

Enough Indonesian sweet soya sauce to cover the tempehs in the pan

A little bit of tamarind juice (to counter the sweetness)


Fry the tempeh slices till crisp

In a shallow pan, brown the onions.

Add the sweet soya sauce

Add a bit of tamarind juice

Pour in the tempeh slices

Mix to coat well

You can add a bit of sugar, but if too much, it will caramelise and harden your dish.(I’ve done this before 😦 ) For the dish I made a few weeks ago, I added sliced garlic before browning the onion slices because I just felt like chewing on fried garlic. It won’t ruin the taste of the dish (unless you add in like a whole lot of garlic)

Serve with hot rice and a main dish. Voila!

Tempeh Manis
Raw tempeh

2 thoughts on “Tempeh Manis”

  1. I have been to Bali in March and i was eating tempeh manis almost every day, i just love it and miss it so much awww so yummy. so happy i found your recipe, thank you!

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