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!