Fermented soy bean cakes, or tempe to the Indonesians, gain a distinctive nutty flavor when fried and are well complemented by the sweet soy sauce.
- 400 g (14¹⁄3 oz) fermented soy bean cake
- Cooking oil for deep-frying
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 60g (2¼ oz) shallots, peeled and sliced
- 40 g (1¹⁄3 oz) garlic, peeled and sliced
- 40g (1¹⁄3 oz) red chilies, large, seeded and finely sliced
- 30g (1 oz) galangal, peeled and sliced
- 20g (²⁄3 oz) palm sugar, chopped
- 3 tablespoons sweet soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons vegetable stock
- 1 tomato, peeled, seeded and cut into strips
- A pinch of salt
- 4 bird’s eye chilies, chopped
Slice fermented soy bean cake into equal-size strips. Heat sufficient oil for deep-frying until medium-hot. Lower in soy bean cake pieces and fry until golden and crisp. Drain on absorbent paper towels.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a frying pan. Add shallots, garlic, chilies and galangal. Saute for 2-4 minutes.
Add palm sugar and sweet soy sauce. Continue to saute until evenly glazed.
Add stock and when it boils, add tomato and sauté for 1 minute. Add fried soy bean cake and stir frequently until sauce has reduced and caramelized.
Season to taste with salt and stir in bird’s eye chilies, if using, just before serving.