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Sweet and Spicy Tempeh with Garlic Curry Noodles

5 from 11 votes
Strips of tempeh pan-fried before being cooked with a kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)-based sauce with some garlic, onion, and chili. The sauce is a delicious and fragrant blend of sweet and spicy with a delicious savoury kick. Served the tempeh with some Garlic Curry Noodles for a satisfying and really heart, protein-packed meal.
You can also opt to use tofu for this recipe, if you'd like!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Indonesian
Servings 2
Calories 501 kcal


Tempeh (or Tofu!)

  • 380 g block tempeh see notes OR
  • 450 g extra firm tofu pressed and drained
  • Neutral oil for panfrying
  • 1 small red onion diced
  • 1 green chili , I used siling haba (see notes)
  • Salt to taste


Cornstarch Slurry

Garlic Curry Noodles

To Finish

  • 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.

To Serve

  • Top the tempeh and noodles with some chopped scallions if you’d like. Enjoy!



Some tempeh brands can have a distinct smell/aftertaste due to the fermentation process. I got my tempeh fresh from an Indonesian based in Manila who makes his tempeh fresh and it didn't have that after taste and weird texture I got from other tempeh I've tried before. I'd actually usually steam my tempeh before cooking it but he told me I no longer needed to and took his advice! The tempeh turned out great and didn't have any weird aftertaste.
Though you find that your tempeh has a distinct smell/aftertaste, you can run it through  some water then steam it for 15 to 20 minutes before slicing and pan-frying them.
You can also of course use extra firm tofu if you don't have access to good tempeh.


For the chiles, I used 'siling haba' or long chiles. They're very mild in spice.
Jalapeños are similar but are much hotter. So if you'd like less heat, you can remove the seeds before sautéing.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 501kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1242mg | Potassium: 474mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 41g | Vitamin A: 91IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 4mg
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