This is a recipe that we tried when we were trying to reproduce another dish that we like, and it turns out that this is something different, but it’s good anyway. The name literally means “Dry Fried Tempe Sambal,” but in reality it’s like sweet-and-sour (and spicy) tempe, almost with a Chinese flavor.
1 block tempe, cut into 1/2 cm by 1/2 cm by 2 cm pieces
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cm galangal, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp palm sugar
1 tsp. tamarind water (see our Sayur Asem recipe)
6 shallots, thinly sliced
4 red chilis, sliced crosswise.
oil for frying
Heat the oil in a deep skillet or wok. When hot, add the tempe and fry until golden brown and crisp, around three minutes. Remove and drain. Reduce to medium heat and add shallots, frying carefully just until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain. Repeat with chilies.
Combine garlic and galangal with a pinch of salt in a mortar-and-pestle or food processor and mash until smooth. Remove all of the oil from the pan except for two tablespoons. Add the spice paste and fry over medium heat until fragrant. Add the tamarind water and sugars, and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Add the reserved tempe, chilies, and shallots, and stir to combine. Serve with rice for a small meal or as a small side dish.