Daily Cooking Quest

Home / All Recipes / Indonesian / Kering Tempeh - Fried Tempeh with Sweet and Spicy Glace

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.
Kering Tempeh - Fried Tempeh with Sweet and Spicy Glace

Kering Tempeh - Fried Tempeh with Sweet and Spicy Glace

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. ♥

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

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

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.

What you need to prepare kering tempeh

Aside from tempeh, you will need the following ingredients to prepare kering tempeh: palm sugar, tamarind, red chilies, shallots, garlic, kaffir lime leaves, Indonesian bay leaves (daun salam), galangal, coriander powder, and salt.

For palm sugar, you can buy either the block version or the granulated version.

For tamarind, I usually buy wet seedless tamarind and add water to make tamarind paste as needed.

For red chilies, choose the spiciness level you can tolerate. My favorite is red Fresno chilies. For a spicier option, choose cayenne or birds-eye chilies instead.

For shallots, you can use either smaller Asian/Chinese shallots or the regular French shallot.

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.

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

First, cut your fresh tempeh into 2-inch matchstick pieces.

Then, 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.

Next, deep fry tempeh until golden brown and crispy. If you have a small-ish pot, don’t crowd the pot, but deep fry the tempeh in batches.

Finally, 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.

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.

First, 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)

Then, add palm sugar, salt, and tamarind paste. Stir and cook until everything boils and bubbles vigorously. (~ 2 minutes)

Finally, 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.

Quickly turn off the heat, transfer tempeh to a serving plate and serve immediately.

Kering Tempeh - Fried Tempeh with Sweet and Spicy Glace.

Kering Tempeh - Fried Tempeh with Sweet and Spicy Glace.

Kering Tempeh - Fried Tempeh with Sweet and Spicy Glace

5.0 from 15 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 30 mins

Cook Time: 30 mins

Total Time: 1 hour

Serves: 8

Print Recipe



  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.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen


  • Yi @ Yi Reservation 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 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 Chris says:

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

  • Yafa 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 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 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 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 Anita says:

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

  • Yeah Yeah says:

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

    • Anita 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 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 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 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 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 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 Anita says:

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

  • Atika 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 Anita says:

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

      • Atika 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 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. :)

  • Theresa S. Theresa S. says:

    Love this blog so much, I have made lots and lots of your recipes . All of them have been amazing and just so close to my mom Indonesian home cooking and very authentic. Today I am going to make Dutch Rijst Tafel for my daughter's engagement party (Rice table) and will be using your recipes! Thank you soo much and I love sharing your blog with lots of my friends in Australia.

    • Anita Anita says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Theresa. I'm glad my recipes remind you of your Mom's cooking. :) And congratulations on your daughter's engagement! I wish I can sample your rijsttafel. I'm sure it will be a huge success. :)

  • veena Azmanov veena Azmanov says:

    A new dish for me to try. Looks delicious and would be my first attempt to making it. Unique too.

  • Dannii Dannii says:

    I am always looking for new ways to use tempeh and this looks amazing.

  • Adrianne Adrianne says:

    I love that your recipes are always so new and original to me. They sound very authentic and this tempeh looks so tasty. Thanks for the cultural delight!

  • Charla @ That Girl Cooks Healthy Charla @ That Girl Cooks Healthy says:

    I'm ashamed to say that I have never tried Indonesian food before but this certainly looks like my type of dish.

  • Jacqueline Meldrum Jacqueline Meldrum says:

    I've still not tried tempeh, but I have to say I am more interested in trying it after drooling as I scrolled through your photos. The looks so good with the sticky glaze.

  • Milky Milky says:

    I just had 1 pack of store-bought tempeh, so I halved the recipe and also added the suggested anchovies. I didn't quite fry the tempeh hot/long enough so they weren't super crisp, but the flavor of the glace was amazing, and it was really hard to stop nibbling at it.

    I'm really glad I caught the tiny note at the bottom about adding the anchovies because that's my favorite way to enjoy them (with a sweet/spicy glaze... to be honest, that's what I buy them for!) Your tempeh recipes make me need to make it myself so I have a fresh supply at all times!

  • Syarifa Syarifa says:

    Anita, this is very delicious. One of my favorites. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Carol Moran Carol Moran says:

    Made a double batch of this for a family gathering, (when we gather we all cook vegan although not all family members are) my daughter's mother-in-law is Indonesian and I made this in her honour. It was a hit with that side of the family but also with the Western Australian family members one of whom (omnivore) said he doesn't usually like tempeh but he had seconds... Thank you for your wonderful recipe.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe: