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Oseng Tempe (Stir Fried Tempeh in Sweet Soy Sauce)

Posting Date: 06/08/20

Oseng Tempe (Stir Fried Tempeh in Sweet Soy Sauce)

Oseng Tempe (Stir Fried Tempeh in Sweet Soy Sauce) is one of Indonesian vegetarian dishes. Tempeh is inexpensive in Indonesia and sold everywhere in the market and thus, it is used as protein source in many dishes. Oseng means stir fried. It is also known by the name of Oseng Oseng Tempe. Indonesians sometimes repeat the same word twice which means many. So, oseng oseng means the motion (act) of stir frying tempeh multiple times on the pan.

If you are not familiar with tempeh, it is made by fermenting soy bean. It has now become popular outside Indonesia to make vegetarians dishes. You may be able to find it in your regular grocery stores in the fridge section, sold next to tofu. However, if you cannot find it in the regular grocery stores, you can find it in grocery stores that specialize in selling organic food. You can also find it in health food stores. When buying tempeh for this recipe, make sure you buy tempeh with no flavor because we will flavor it during cooking. If you cannot find tempeh at all, you can use tofu.

Oseng Tempe is a popular dish to serve with rice and other dishes. It can be served with steamed rice, Nasi Uduk (Rice Cooked in Coconut Milk), Nasi Kuning (Indonesian Yellow Rice), or Nasi Ketan Kuning Serundeng (Yellow Glutinous Rice with Coconut Topping). The tempeh is cooked with Kecap manis (Sweet Soy Sauce). So, it tastes sweet with a spicy kick from the jalapeno peppers. If you have low tolerance to heat, you can remove the seeds and ribs of the jalapeno peppers. The dish is very versatile because you can add vegetables, such as eggplant, long beans, or green beans. If you do so, stir fry the vegetables until it is cooked before adding fried tempeh.

The recipe serves 2-3 people depending on whether it is served with other dishes or not.


  • 450 grams tempeh, diced to your preferred size. I dice to 1/4"x1/4"x1/2". The thinner you dice it, the crispier it will be. When buying tempeh, make sure you buy the one that has no flavor because we are going to flavor it during cooking. You can find tempeh in the fridge section in your grocery store. If you cannot find it in regular grocery store, you can try the grocery stores that sell organic stuffs. Otherwise, you can find it in health food stores. If you cannot find it at all, use tofu instead.
  • vegetable oil for frying tempeh
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to saute
  • 2 small or 1/2 large size of shallot
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced. If you have low tolerance to heat, remove the seeds and ribs of the peppers. You may use large green chili peppers if you cannot find jalapeno pepper. Do not use Thai chili peppers because it will be too hot.
  • 1 red chili pepper, cut lengthwise and deseeded. If you cannot find red chili pepper, use 1/3 red bell pepper.
  • 3 tablespoons sweet soy sauce or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • pinch of salt or to taste
  • pinch of black pepper or to taste


  1. Heat vegetable oil on a frying pan over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, place tempeh on the pan. Do not over crowd the pan, so you have to fry tempeh on multiple batches. Once the bottom side of tempeh is golden brown, flip over tempeh to fry the top side and fry it until it becomes golden brown. Using slotted spoon to drain excess oil, take tempeh out of the pan and place it on a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat until all tempeh has been fried.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil on a pan over medium high heat. Add shallot, garlic, and jalapeno pepper. Saute until they becomes aromatic. Add red chili pepper and saute for 1 min. Add fried tempeh, sweet soy sauce, water, salt, and black pepper. Stir fry until tempeh is coated evenly with sweet soy sauce. Taste it and add seasoning if needed. Remove from the heat.
  3. Serve while it is still warm with rice.

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