These are strips of tempeh pan-fried before being cooked with a kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)-based sauce with some garlic, onion, and chili. This sweet and spicy tempeh is served with some garlic curry noodles for a really hearty meal!
The sauce is a delicious and fragrant blend of sweet and spicy with a delicious savoury kick. I used homemade kecap manis for the sauce.
I served the sweet & spicy tempeh with noodles but you can opt to have yours with rice, too!
The protein: TEMPEH (or tofu)
I gave tempeh another chance this year after after talking to an Indonesian guy about tempeh. He’s baed in Manila and shared with me his tempeh to try. He makes his tempeh from scratch with soy beans. Tempeh is a close cousin of tofu–but unlike tofu, tempeh is fermented and the soy beans are whole.
It has a much meatier and firmer texture. I did however get (slightly) traumatised from tempeh I’ve tried in the past that I got in these frozen blocks, which weren’t at all great and had a weird smell and aftertaste.
Trying out fresh and homemade tempeh again now changed that and convinced me to continue cooking with and incorporated tempeh in my recipes because it’s an amazing source of plant protein.
If you’re still skeptical over tempeh or don’t have access to it, feel free to use tofu.
Just make sure to press your tofu well and pan-fry it as well.
Now back to the the tempeh! I sliced them into 1/2 to 1″ thick pieces.
I then pan-fried the tempeh and set them aside on a plate.
SAUCE AND OTHER INGREDIENTS
The sauce is a blend of sweet and savoury ingredients with lots of garlic. I love the balance of the different flavours.
I also prepared some sliced green chilies and some onion. For the chiles, I used ‘siling haba’ or long chiles. They’re very mild in spice, like jalapeños.
SWEET SOY SAUCE OR KECAP MANIS
The sauce gets its sweetness from kecap manis, which is Indonesian sweet soy sauce. I make my own but you can also purchase these bottled online (amazon option linked here) or from your local grocery stores.
You can find my homemade kecap manis recipe here.
COOKING THE TEMPEH or TOFU
I basically pan-fried the tempeh first and then sautéed the onions and chili before pouring in the sauce.
I cooked down the tempeh in the sauce and the sauce will slowly thicken from the cornstarch.
Here’s a close-up of that tempeh!
The sauce will eventually thicken to a glaze. It’s so good and so satisfying!
GARLIC CURRY NOODLES
I paired the tempeh with some garlic curry noodles. There’s something about garlic and pairing with with a really aromatic curry powder.
I used instant ramen noodles for this, but you can opt to use other noodles of choice. Thin wheat noodles really work well too!
I also cooked down the noodles in the same pan as the tempeh. So I deglazed the pan to get that sauce in the noodles, too!
I then added in the noodles and mixed it with the curry powder, that gives it so much flavour and also that beautiful yellow colour.
SERVE AND ENJOY!!
Now it’s time to eat! I really enjoyed this noodle and tempeh combo but of course if you’re a fan of rice with tempeh, you can also make this with some curry fried rice or just some plain steamed rice.
You might enjoy these recipes:
- Mie Goreng (Indonesian Fried Noodles)
- Easy Spicy Miso Noodles
- Filipino Kaldereta or ‘Meat’ Stew
- Filipino Lumpiang Gulay or Fried Vegetable Spring Rolls
- Filipino “Pork” Barbecue
- Japanese Chahan or Fried Rice
- Crispy Eggplant Katsu
- Scalloped Potatoes in Creamy Lemon Dill Sauce
- Chili Garlic and Black Bean Eggplant Noodles
- Easy Sweet, Spicy, and Saucy Noodles
- Stir-Fried Tofu and Basil Noodles
- Pan-Fried Tofu Cakes
- Tofu ‘McNuggets’
- Tantanmen (Vegan Ramen)
- Yaki Udon
- Chinese-Style Bolognese
- Ginger and Scallion Noodles
- Chili Garlic Oil Noodles
Sweet and Spicy Tempeh with Garlic Curry Noodles
Tempeh (or Tofu!)
- 1/2 tbsp corn starch
- 1 tbsp room temperature water
Garlic Curry Noodles
- Chopped scallion
Tempeh/ Tofu and Sauce
- If using frozen tempeh, make sure it’s thawed at room temperature. See the notes below on other tips to prepare tempeh.
- Slice the tempeh into 1/2 to 1” thick pieces.
- If using tofu, press the tofu for 10 tp 15 minutes then slice it into 1" thich pieces.
- Heat a large non-stick pan over medium high heat. Once hot, add some neutral oil to coat the surface of the pan. Pan-fry the tempeh/tofu until golden brown, around 3 minutes on each side.
- Remove the tempeh/tofu from the pan and set aside.
- While the tempeh is pan-frying, mix all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Taste the sauce and feel free to adjust to your desired taste. Note that if using store-bought kecap manis, it can be watered down so I recommend adding more if needed.In another small bowl, mix together the cornstarch and water to create a slurry. Set aside.
- In the same pan used to pan-fry the tempeh, sauté the chili and onion over high heat in the oil for 2 minutes.
- Pour in the sauce and leave to simmer over medium high heat.
- Once it boils, lower the heat to medium.
- Give the cornstarch slurry a good mix again. While mixing, pour in the cornstarch slurry into the sauce. Lower the heat to low.
- Keep mixing until the slurry is well incorporated in the sauce.
- Add back in the pan-fried tempeh and leave to simmer in the sauce for 4 to 5 minutes. Turn up the heat to medium and then flip over the tempeh to coat evenly in the sauce. The sauce will start to thicken and turn into a glaze.
- Once the sauce thickens, lower the heat to prevent the sauce from burning.
- Cook for 2 to 3 more minutes and flip the tempeh to evenly coat in the sauce. The sauce will thicken into a glaze-like consistency. Taste the tempeh and feel free to add more kecap manis or season with some salt, to taste.
- Turn off the heat then remove the tempeh from the pan.
- In a small pot of boiling water cook the noodles until chewy or according to package instructions. Remove from the water and set aside.
- While the noodles are cooking, heat the same pan used for the tempeh. Add in the oil.
- Sauté the garlic for 2 minutes until lightly brown.
- Add in the water. The water will also help deglaze the pan.
- Mix in the curry powder and kecap manis.
- Mix well to dilute the curry powder. Add in the cooked noodles mix well with the curry sauce.
- You can add more kecap manis and some salt and pepper, to taste, if you’d like. If the noodles are a bit dry, you can also add in a splash of water.
- Turn off the heat and then serve the noodles with the tempeh.