Daily Cooking Quest

Kering Tempeh - Fried Tempeh with Sweet and Spicy Glace

Deep-fried tempeh with sweet and spicy glace (kering tempeh) is one of the most delicious Indonesian tempeh dish. Make double/triple batches if sharing.

If you visit a Javanese restaurant, you will probably see kering tempeh among the many side dishes that you can order. Some places sell these in jars or packaged plastic bags, a great thing to stock at home since a couple of spoonful of this can perk up your humble steamed rice. With this recipe, you can recreate said kering tempeh in your home. (Read: no need to smuggle some packages of kering tempeh anymore whenever you visit Indonesia! :D) If you like having nasi uduk for breakfast, I highly recommend a side dish of kering tempeh and telur dadar gulung. ♥

Kering Tempeh - Fried Tempeh with Sweet and Spicy Glace

Learn how to make homemade tempeh

Back when I was still in college, which was … err … a while ago, tempeh is not something you can buy in the US. Nowadays, it is more common to see tempeh in grocery stores, though not as widespread as I would like. I still love making my own tempeh at home, and if you are feeling adventurous, you can try making your own homemade tempeh with my homemade tempeh recipe. If you do buy your tempeh from grocery stores, please choose the ones made from soybeans as those are what we use in Indonesia.

Ingredients to prepare kering tempeh: tempeh, tamarind, garlic, shallot, galangal, fresno chlies, kaffir lime leaves, palm sugar, salt, and coriander.

What you need to prepare kering tempeh

Aside from tempeh, you will need the following ingredients to prepare kering tempeh:

Deep-fried tempeh sticks, spice paste (from shallot, garlic, galangal, and chilies), tamarind, palm sugar, salt, coriander, thinly sliced fresno chilies, and slivers of kaffir lime leaves.

First part: make deep-fried tempeh sticks

To make kering tempeh, we first need to deep fry tempeh sticks. Here are what you need to do:

  1. Cut your fresh tempeh into 2-inch matchstick pieces.
  2. Heat a pot of oil for deep-frying. I typically make sure there is at least 2 inches of oil. Wait until the oil is hot. If you have a bamboo chopstick (just save a pair when you have some Chinese takeout), you can lower one chopstick and if the oil bubbles around the chopstick, it is ready.
  3. Deep fry tempeh until golden brown. If you have a small-ish pot, don’t crowd the pot, but deep fry the tempeh in batches.
  4. Once the tempeh sticks are all golden brown and crispy looking, scoop it up with a strainer (a fine mesh skimmer or a spider strainer is really the best tool for this) and set aside over a wire rack to remove excess oil.

Kering Tempeh - Fried Tempeh with Sweet and Spicy Glace.

Second part: make the sweet and spicy glace

Once you have deep-fried your tempeh, it is time to make the sauce. Make sure your prep work is all done since this part will be super quick.

  1. Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a wok/frying pan over medium-high heat and fry the spice paste, coriander powder, thinly sliced red chilies, kaffir lime leaves slivers, and daun salam (if using) until fragrant. (~ 3 minutes)
  2. Add palm sugar, salt, and tamarind paste. Stir and cook until everything boils and bubbles vigorously. (~ 2 minutes)
  3. Once the sauce looks thick, return the deep-fried tempeh sticks to the wok/frying pan, and toss gently until all the tempeh pieces are fully coated with the sauce.
  4. Turn off the heat, and serve immediately.

Kering Tempeh - Fried Tempeh with Sweet and Spicy Glace.

Originally published on November 16, 2013. Updated on October 7, 2019 with new photos.

Kering Tempeh - Fried Tempeh with Sweet and Spicy Glace

5.0 from 6 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 30 mins

Cook Time: 30 mins

Total Time: 1 hour

Serves: 8



  1. Prepare enough oil for deep frying. Once the oil is hot enough, deep fry the tempeh until golden brown and crispy. Set aside and drain to remove excess oil.
  2. Heat oil in a wok, sauté spice paste, chilies, bay leaves, lime leaves, and coriander powder until fragrant.
  3. Add palm sugar, salt, and tamarind liquid. Cook until boiling and bubble vigorously. Once the sauce is really thick and reduced, return the fried tempeh into the wok and toss until the tempeh pieces are fully coated with the sauce. Turn off heat and serve immediately or at room temperature.


  • (*) For a non-vegetarian version, do a 400 gram tempeh and 100 gram anchovies (Indonesian: ikan teri) instead of all 500 gram tempeh.


  • Yi @ Yi Reservation says:

    What a great way to make tempeh!! It's definitely packed with tons of flavor. I am proud to say that I've got all the ingredients required minus the tempeh to make this dish. Will try it soon. Thanks!

    • Anita says:

      I hope you will like the recipe. And good job stocking your pantry with Asian cuisine ingredients, especially South East Asian, I know how difficult that can be living in the States :)

  • Chris says:

    Cooked this and it's very appetizing! I topped up my rice twice! Thanks! Yummmm

  • Yafa says:

    I just made this for dinner and it was fabulous! My husband and I both loved it, especially the wonderful mixture of flavors in the sauce. My husband made Tempeh using peanuts instead of soybeans, which was perfect in this sauce. Some of the ingredients are impossible to find in northern Minnesota, so we bring ingredients home from big city visits. I have a package of dried Kaffir lime leaves and hope to find some fresh or frozen next time we are in a big city.

    • Anita says:

      I am happy you and your husband both love the dish, Yafa :) And I am totally floored you made your own tempeh, and with peanuts to boot! ♥

  • Glenn says:

    A very simple and great tasting recipe...it brings me back to my youth, in Jakarta... Thank you!! Terima Kasih !

  • Melané Fahner-Botha says:

    Oh boy! Just finished making this and have to wait till tomorrow to serve. Will have to pack it away or my guests will get only the story. Delightful! Rather too spicy for the grandchildren, despite halving the amount of chili's but the adults will enjoy very much... Thank you!

    • Anita says:

      Hehe, it can get rather spicy for the uninitiated :) I hope your guests will enjoy them as well.

  • Yeah says:

    How long can this be stored? Possible to freeze or will it lose its crispness?

    • Anita says:

      The longest I have tried storing in the fridge is 1 week, and it did retain its crispiness. I cannot say if it will still stay crispy or not when stored for more than a week.

      • yeah says:

        Was just going through my old emails and found that you've already replied to my comment a couple of hours later, so here's a much later "thanks" for that. I confirm it stays crispy for about a week btw.

        • Anita says:

          Haha, it is indeed a "so much later" reply :) But I am very glad it also stays crispy for a week for you.

  • Nelden DG says:

    Thank you so much for the recipe. It sure does bring back childhood memories! I'm currently living in Lithuania, and I can't find galangal here. I also had to substitute shallots with big red onions. It still turned out quite beautifully. Terima kasih!

    • Anita says:

      You are welcome Nelden. Sometimes I also cheat and use red onion instead of shallot when shallot is not available in the market :)

  • Jenn says:

    Hi Anita, I just made this today and it is so good. I'm Indo and I've never made this before in my life. It tasted just like what I remembered. Thank you!

    • Anita says:

      You are welcome Jenn. I'm glad the recipe helps :)

  • Atika says:

    Hi Mba Anita, I hope you are well. I was so happy that I found this recipe. Thank you! One quick question: I've got a tamarind paste at home which consists of tamarind concentrate (80%), sunflower oil, water, and white wine vinegar. If I were to use 2 teaspoons of this paste and 50 ml water for the tamarind liquid, would it be okay? Looking forward to hearing from you. Thank you! :)

    • Anita says:

      Hi Atika, I am confident the way you describe it will work. Let me know how it goes. :)

      • Atika says:

        Hi Mba Anita, I tried it last week and it worked perfectly! I made 2 batches of your recipe for food stock during our road trip. My husband and a couple of friends enjoyed it very much, even the little one loved every bit of it because the tempe stayed crisp the whole time and it was not spicy. I also brought 2 batches of roti pisang keju coklat from your recipe for our snack. Although I put the white chocolate chip in one of the batches as I've run out of the dark ones and turned out perfectly fine. Thank you so much for sharing these recipes. :)))) Best wishes, Atika

        • Anita says:

          Yay, I am so happy it worked out perfectly for your road trip! Now I want to make some to bring for my own upcoming road trip. :)

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