I remembered there was a time when I was in Primary 4 when the form teacher mentioned that tempeh (fermented soy beans) has high nutritional value but my classmates weren’t sure of what tempeh was except me because it was an ingredient that my Granny loved to cook with and I grew up eating. I asked my Granny then to help me fry some tempeh so I could bring to school for the whole class to try.
If you’re also not sure what it is, this is how tempeh looks like before it’s cooked –
I bought this for only $1.30 from NTUC Fairprice at the chilled tofu section. And it’s something that my husband and I enjoy in Malay and Indonesian cuisine.
Here’s a recipe of our favourite gado gado, an Indonesian-style salad with peanut sauce dressing.
Gado Gado Recipe
Ingredients (serves 4)
300g cabbage, sliced, blanched
250g french beans, cut into 1″ length, blanched
600g russet potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces, boiled
1 cucumber, cut into bite-sized pieces
400g firm beancurd (tau kwa), cut into bite-sized cubes
200g tempeh, cut into bite-sized cubes
4 large hard-boiled eggs, cut into halves
belinjo and/or fish keropok (crackers)
150g coarsely ground roasted peanuts
3 bird’s eye chillies (chilli padi)
1 tsp dried shrimp paste (belachan)
4 tbsp palm sugar
1 heaped tbsp peanut butter
1/4 cup tamarind juice (mix 1 tbsp tamarind with 1/4 cup hot water)
1/2 cup warm water
1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C at Grill with fan. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and transfer the firm beancurd and tempeh onto the tray. Bake for 25-30 minutes till golden brown. Remove and set aside.
2. Toast shrimp paste on a pan without adding oil till fragrant. Remove and set aside.
3. Using a food processor, blend the shrimp paste, bird’s eye chillies and palm sugar till it becomes a paste. Add ground peanuts, peanut butter, tamarind juice and warm water and pulse for a few seconds till well combined. Season with salt if necessary.
4. To assemble the gado gado, just place a bit of everything on a plate, drizzle the peanut sauce over and then serve with crackers.
I like my sauce chunky hence after pulsing the sauce ingredients briefly, I will stir in more coarse peanuts for that extra crunch and texture. For the husband, he prefers a more rich and creamy one so I made a separate sauce for him by adding an additional tablespoon of peanut butter and then pulse the mixture till the grainy bits are no more. Both taste equally good! Sweet, salty with a bit of heat. Goes very well with the vegetables indeed. Enjoy!