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Tahu Tempeh Bacem

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.

Tahu Tempeh Bacem

Tahu Tempeh Bacem

Tahu Tempeh Bacem

5.0 from 1 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 1 hour 45 mins

Total Time: 2 hours

Serves: 10


  • 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)
  • Grind the following into spice paste
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 inches galangal (Indonesian: lengkuas)
  • 3 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder (Indonesian: ketumbar)
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. 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.
  2. Heat enough oil for deep frying, fry the tofu and tempeh until golden brown.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen


  • Ivy Sew Ivy Sew says:

    Hi Anita, I am glad I chanced upon your blog and for your info, you have a wonderful blog. Most of your recipes are delicious and easy to follow too. By the way, I like your tofu tempeh and will give this a try. Thanks for sharing and have a great day ahead :)

  • Fithria Fithria says:

    Hi Anita, I love your website. I have used many of your recipes without fail. Just wondering, what can I use to substitute coconut juice? Is that the same with coconut water? Many thanks. Fithria

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Fithria, coconut juice is the same as coconut water :)

      • Fithria Fithria says:

        Thank you, Anita. Hopefully can make this weekend. Btw I hope you will add banana fritter recipe, can't seem to find a good recipe.

  • Katie Katie says:

    Hello! So glad to have found your blog. I had tahu becem in Java with a small bag of red (I think) peppers. They were very hot. Any idea what kind they may have been? I'd like to keep an eye out!

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Katie, they are probably bird eye chili peppers, sometimes also called Thai chili peppers, we call them cabe rawit in Indonesian. They can indeed be really really hot for those not used to them :)

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