For my more keen readers, you are probably getting to the conclusion that a lot of Indonesian dishes are cooked in two steps, the first involves boiling/braising/poaching to let the spices fully absorbed in the meat/tofu/tempeh/etc, then followed by the second step of deep frying the said meat/tofu/tempeh/etc, and you will be absolutely right.
It may seem excessive, but this method of cooking has its advantage. The first step is pretty simple, you usually just let it sit cooking in the pot until its done. Then, in a lot of households, food that has gone through this first step of cooking is stored in fridge and later deep fry in small batches as needed throughout the week or the following days. Extremely useful for preparing a party, don’t you think?
Tahu tempeh bacem is another dish that follows the same pattern. This dish originates from Central Java and along with opor ayam is a typical accompaniment for the famous nasi gudeg Jogja.
- 10 small firm tofu
- 10 tempeh in triangular shape (Indonesian: tempeh segitiga)
- 2 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon tamarind (Indonesian: asam jawa)
- 750 ml coconut juice (Indonesian: air kelapa)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 inches galangal (Indonesian: lengkuas)
- 3 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon coriander powder (Indonesian: ketumbar)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Place all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer until all the liquid is gone and the spices are fully absorbed by the tofu and tempeh.
- Heat enough oil for deep frying, fry the tofu and tempeh until golden brown.