Daily Cooking Quest

easy Indonesian recipes

Tempeh Kecap - Fried Tempeh in Sweet Soy Sauce

This is another of my favorite tempeh dish. Using Indonesian sweet soy sauce (kecap manis) is imperative, otherwise, it will not be called tempeh kecap :) Again, as with all tempeh dishes, we start by cutting the tempeh into really small pieces, in this case, into matchsticks. Then, into the hot oil for deep frying. Once the tempeh is golden brown, drain in paper towel or wire rack. This first part is almost always the preferred way of cooking Indonesian tempeh dishes.

Tempeh Kecap - Fried Tempeh in Sweet Soy Sauce

Tempeh Kecap - Fried Tempeh in Sweet Soy Sauce

Next part is super easy, sauté spice paste and all the other herbs (except chilies) until fragrant, then the chilies until wilted, then the tempeh along with salt, sugar, and of course, the kecap manis. Once the tempeh pieces are fully coated, it’s done! ♥

Tempeh Kecap - Fried Tempeh in Sweet Soy Sauce

Tempeh Kecap - Fried Tempeh in Sweet Soy Sauce

Tempeh Kecap - Fried Tempeh in Sweet Soy Sauce

4.7 from 3 reviews



Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 30 mins

Total Time: 45 mins

Serves: 4


  • 300 gram tempeh, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 lemongrass (Indonesian: sereh), bruised and knotted
  • 2 bay leaves (Indonesian: daun salam)
  • 2 red chilies (Indonesian: cabe merah besar), thinly sliced diagonally
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar (Indonesian: gula Jawa)
  • 3 tablespoon sweet soy sauce (Indonesian: kecap manis)
  • oil, for deep frying and for sautéing
  • Grind the following into spice paste
  • 6 shallots (Indonesian: bawang merah)
  • 3 cloves garlic (Indonesian: bawang putih)
  • 1 inch galangal (Indonesian: lengkuas)


  1. Heat enough oil in a frying pan for deep frying. Deep fry tempeh until golden brown, drain on wire rack/paper towel.
  2. Remove almost all the oil from the frying pan, and leave about 2 tablespoon of oil. Sauté spice paste, lemongrass, and bay leaves until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add red chilies and sauté until wilted, about 2 minutes.
  4. Return the fried tempeh to the pan, season with salt, sugar, and sweet soy sauce. Toss/stir until the tempeh pieces are fully coated with the sweet soy sauce. Turn off heat and serve immediately with steamed white rice.


  • Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul says:

    Wow Anita! That looks delicious. When I was in Bali I had something similar to this. I've always loved tempeh, but fried with soy sauce is extra special. Thanks for the recipe : )

    • Anita says:

      So glad you like it Jenné :) Do give it a try sometimes, okay? ♥

  • Michael says:

    This looks amazing! I cannot wait to try it. Thank you for sharing your recipes.

  • Jenny Jernie Lim says:

    I will try one recipe every weekend, starting tomorrow.

  • Amallia @DesireToEat says:

    I just tried your recipe. It was so delicious. Thanks for sharing :-)

    • Anita says:

      Thanks for trying Amallia :)

  • Alicia says:

    Greetings, Anita. Thank you very much for sharing the recipe. The ingredients explanation in English & Indonesian really helped me a lot! It was the first time I made it and my friends liked it! Thanks for helping me introducing Indonesian cuisine to the world :) All the best for you!

    • Anita says:

      You are welcome Alicia. I am happy the recipe helped :)

  • Siggy says:

    Hi Anita I'm looking to buy Tempeh but its from a Philippine store but they don't know what it is. Can you help me ? Thanks Siggy

    • Anita says:

      Hi Siggy, if you are in the United States, I have found that Whole Foods Market usually carry tempeh in their stores if you cannot find any in your regular Asian market. Although the taste is not quite the same as the one from Indonesia, it is still one of the easiest way to get a hold of tempeh in the States. Here in west coast, my best luck finding one closest to the ones sold in Indonesia is from Ranch 99.

  • Nate says:

    Trader Joe's has Tempe as well

  • Nate says:

    Dear Anita, Thank you so very much for sharing all these recipes! They are beautifully photographed as well! Has anyone offered you to write a book yet? :) Anyway, how do you manage to get Indonesian Bay Leaves in US?

    • Anita says:

      Thanks Nate! No plan to write a book yet at the moment, though I have been toying with the idea, but haven't really found the schedule to do so :D Anyway, I got Indonesian bay leaves from Marina (the one in Bay Area), they have about half an aisle stocked with Indonesian goodies.

  • Samuel Carter says:

    Hi Anita, I have had this dish before and am about to attempt your recipe. I wanted to know if there was a type of oil you would recommend and how much you would usually use for the deep frying? Thanks Samuel

    • Anita says:

      Hi Samuel, the most common oil we use in Indonesia for deep frying is probably peanut oil. But in the States I regularly use Canola oil with no detrimental effect :)

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