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Mendol Tempe - Deep Fried Spicy Soy Bean Cake

Mendol tempe is a specialty of East Java, especially around the city of Malang. It is made with tempe (soy bean cake) that is first steamed, then mashed together with spices before reshaped into individual portions and deep fried. These are great as snacks or as side dish to go with steamed white rice.

Mendol Tempe - Deep Fried Spicy Soy Bean Cake

I think mendol tempe is originally created to make use of almost expired tempe since one is supposed to use tempe bosok (which is to say, a sour tempe) to make a mendol. And some people would even leave the individual portions of reshaped soy bean cake in the open for up to half a day to let it sour even more before deep frying! I guess if you want to try, feel free to do so, I am not that brave to eat almost spoiled food. ♥

Mendol Tempe - Deep Fried Spicy Soy Bean Cake

Mendol Tempe - Deep Fried Spicy Soy Bean Cake

4.0 from 1 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 40 mins

Total Time: 1 hour

Serves: 4


  • 250 gram soy bean cake/tempeh (Indonesian: tempe)
  • 1 scallion (Indonesian: daun bawang), thinly sliced
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves (Indonesian: daun jeruk), thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • enough oil for deep frying
  • Grind the following into spice paste
  • 2 shallots (Indonesian: bawang merah)
  • 2 cloves garlic (Indonesian: bawang putih)
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander powder (Indonesian: bubuk ketumbar)
  • 1/2 inch kaempferia galanga (Indonesian: kencur)
  • 2 red bird eye chilies (Indonesian: cabe rawit merah)


  1. Cut the tempeh into 1/2 inch cubes, then steam for 20 minutes.
  2. Mash the tempeh with a fork in a mixing bowl, then add spice paste, scallion, kaffir lime leaves, salt, and sugar. Mix well, knead with hands if you must. Divide into 8 portions and shape each into a piece of block (or any shape you want).
  3. Deep fry the spiced tempeh until golden brown. Drain on wire rack/paper towel. Serve immediately as snack or as side dish with steamed white rice.


  • Mark says:

    I tried this recipe a couple of times and found that it would not stay stuck together in the fryer without using egg as a binding agent. Do you have any other suggestions for how you got yours to stay stuck together? :) Thanks, Mark

    • Anita says:

      Hi Mark, in Indonesia we buy fresh tempe and let it sit in the fridge for 3-4 days (not freezer) before making mendol tempe, at that time the texture is just right and magically everything can bind together without using egg. I haven't actually tried making mendol tempe here in the States, so there is a possibility that it might not be possible without egg like your experience.

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