As we resume this edition of 'The Cultural Corner', we do so with a moment of reflection and solidarity. In observance of those who endure the hardships of conflict, famine, and involuntary starvation, especially during the month of Ramadan, we discontinued this section for a while. It is our humble attempt to recognise and honor the resilience of individuals facing unimaginable challenges around the world. And as we share the following recipe, let us acknowledge the importance of culinary exchange and traditions in bridging cultures and fostering understanding. In the spirit of solidarity and inclusivity, we continue our exploration of global cuisine.


Today, we delve into the heart of Indonesian cuisine to explore a beloved dish that encapsulates the essence of Southeast Asian flavours: Sambal Goreng Tempeh. With its blend of crispy tempeh, aromatic spices, and fiery sambal sauce, this dish offers a glimpse into the culinary tapestry of Indonesia. The origin of Sambal Goreng Tempeh can be traced back to Indonesia, where tempeh is a staple ingredient in traditional Indonesian cuisine. Tempeh itself is believed to have originated from the Indonesian island of Java, where it has been consumed for centuries as a nutritious and versatile source of protein.


Here's a simple recipe for Sambal Goreng Tempeh:


1 block of tempeh, cut into cubes or thin slices
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 red chilies, thinly sliced (adjust according to spice preference)
2 tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
Salt, to taste
Sugar, to taste (optional)
Water, as needed


1. Prepare Tempeh: Cut the tempeh into cubes or thin slices, according to your preference.
2. Fry Tempeh: Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the tempeh cubes/slices and fry until golden brown and crispy on all sides. Remove the fried tempeh from the pan and set aside.
3. Make Sambal Sauce: In the same pan, add a bit more oil if needed. Sauté the chopped shallots, minced garlic, and sliced red chilies until fragrant.
4. Add Tomatoes: Add the diced tomatoes to the pan and cook until they start to soften and release their juices.
5. Season: Stir in the sweet soy sauce (kecap manis) and tamarind paste. Season with salt and sugar to taste, if desired.
6. Cook: Add the fried tempeh back to the pan and stir well to coat it with the sambal sauce. If the sauce is too thick, you can add a splash of water to achieve your desired consistency.
7. Simmer: Allow the tempeh to simmer in the sauce for a few minutes, allowing the flavours to meld together and the tempeh to absorb some of the sauce.
8. Serve: Once the tempeh is heated through and the sauce has thickened slightly, remove the pan from the heat. Serve the Sambal Goreng Tempeh hot, with steamed rice or as a side dish.