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Steak Tempe - Tempeh (Soy Bean Cake) Steak

Made of soy bean, tempe is naturally packed with protein comparable to that of a meat, so tempe steak is not a far fetch idea. In fact, if you have a favorite steak recipe, I would highly suggest tinkering with tempe as the meat substitute and you may be surprised by its taste.

Steak Tempe - Tempeh (Soy Bean Cake) Steak
Steak Tempe - Tempeh (Soy Bean Cake) Steak

For this recipe, I added some coarsely chopped shrimp to the tempe to make steak patties. It is a great success combining the two, though I honestly think the steak will still be delicious even without the shrimp. The sauce is an Indonesian interpretation of tomato based sauce, really delicious. Granted it might be a bit unusual for those tasting it the first time, but I am betting most will love it after the first try. I have yet to see even a little kid running away from this sauce. ;)

Steak Tempe - Tempeh (Soy Bean Cake) Steak
Steak Tempe - Tempeh (Soy Bean Cake) Steak

Steak Tempe - Tempeh (Soy Bean Cake) Steak

5.0 from 7 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 40 mins

Total Time: 1 hour

Serves: 4

Print Recipe


  • Steak
  • 250 gram tempeh/soy bean cake (Indonesian: tempe)
  • 75 gram peeled and deveined shrimp, coarsely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic (Indonesian: bawang putih), minced
  • 2 tablespoon corn starch (Indonesian: tepung maizena)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (Indonesian: garam)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar (Indonesian: gula)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper (Indonesian: bubuk lada)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (Indonesian: bubuk pala)
  • 2 tablespoon butter (Indonesian: mentega)
  • Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon butter (Indonesian: mentega)
  • 2 cloves garlic (Indonesian: bawang putih), minced
  • 2 red cayenne chilies (Indonesian: cabe keriting merah), thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoon tomato sauce (Indonesian: saus tomat)
  • 1 tablespoon chili sauce (Indonesian: sambal)
  • 250 ml water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon corn starch + 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 bunch coriander leaves, thinly sliced (about 3 to 4 tablespoon)


  • Steak
    1. Cut the tempe into 1/2 inch cubes. Steam for 20 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl and mashed with a fork.
    2. Add shrimp, garlic, corn starch, salt, sugar, ground white pepper, and nutmeg to the mashed tempe. Mix well, knead if you must, and divide into 4 portions. Shape each into a patty shape.
    3. Heat butter in the frying pan until melted, then cook the tempe steaks until golden brown on one side, about 4 to 5 minutes. Then flip and cook the other side, another 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a serving plate and set aside.
  • Sauce
    1. Heat butter in a frying pan (use the same pan to cook the tempe steak), then sauté garlic and chilies until fragrant.
    2. Add tomato sauce, chili sauce, water, salt, and sugar. Mix well and bring to a boil.
    3. Thicken the sauce with corn starch solution and cook until the sauce starts to bubble. Turn off heat, add the lemon juice and 2 tablespoon of coriander leaves to the sauce. Mix well, and transfer the sauce to a serving bowl (or a gravy boat if you have one).
  • To serve
    1. Arrange the tempe steak on a serving plate, drizzle with some sauce, and garnish with some of the sliced coriander leaves. You can add some simple salad at the side to go with the steak.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen


  • Christine Christine says:

    This looks delicious! I just have a question, could you possibly make the tempeh steak without the shrimp?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Christine, go ahead and skip the shrimp. The steak should be perfectly fine :)

  • Citra Tirtonegoro Citra Tirtonegoro says:

    Hi.... Your recipe is worth trying. But, why do we need to steam the tempe first?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Citra, if the tempeh is not steamed first, it won't be thoroughly cooked when fried for 4-5 minutes later on with frying pan.

  • Kelly Anthony Kelly Anthony says:

    This steak tempe looks so hearty and filling. I really like the heat that the cayenne chilis and the chili sauce add to this dish.

  • Pam Greer Pam Greer says:

    This recipe is amazing and we use the sauce on all kinds of other proteins. Love it on everything!

  • Jill Jill says:

    Looks like a healthy and delicious dinner option.

  • Carrie Robinson Carrie Robinson says:

    I have never had this before, but it definitely looks tasty. :)

  • Morgan Morgan says:

    I love the idea of adding the ground shrimp! Lots of flavor there!

  • Milky Milky says:

    I had yet to try a tempeh recipe in this style (crumbled up and reshaped) and since there was a little sale at my local grocery, it seemed due time! The addition of shrimp and sauteing in butter pretty much is a guarantee of deliciousness in my opinion- and I was not disappointed! This might be right up there with Tempeh Mendoan or Kering Tempeh, but is even easier thanks to not needing the deep fry.

    The only snag was that the patties were very fragile, and one fell apart in the pan. I'm thinking this was because I just didn't mash up the beans enough (or perhaps store-bought tempeh beans are firmer?), so if I really need them to shape well, I'll try it again with the food processor.

    The sauce is tangy and spicy- since I don't usually have fresh chilies on hand, I just subbed in a tablespoon of cayenne powder and added it with the water. I found the patties plenty flavorful without any sauce, but the sauce packed a good punch. I bet these would also be a good appetizer in a smaller shape.

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