Home > Tahu Tempe Bumbu Rujak (Tofu and Tempeh in Spicy Coconut Sauce)

Tahu Tempe Bumbu Rujak (Tofu and Tempeh in Spicy Coconut Sauce)

Posting Date: 08/04/20

Tahu Tempe Bumbu Rujak (Tofu and Tempeh in Spicy Coconut Sauce)

Tahu Tempe Bumbu Rujak (Tofu and Tempeh in Spicy Coconut Sauce) originated in East Java. This is the vegetarian version of Ayam Bumbu Rujak (Chicken in Spicy Coconut Sauce). Tofu and tempeh are healthy and an inexpensive protein source in Indonesia. Thus, Indonesians have many recipes using them. This recipe is one of them.

The sauce of this dish is made of coconut milk, chili peppers, garlic, and shallots. It tastes really delicious with rice that I can just eat the rice with the sauce by itself. You can use any type of rice, steamed rice, Nasi Uduk (Rice Cooked in Coconut Milk), or Nasi Kuning (Indonesian Yellow Rice). For the picture, I used Nasi Kuning since I got tired eating steamed rice.

The good thing about this recipe is that it is a one-pot meal. You fry the tofu and tempeh and cook the dish in the same frying pan. That's why I like the recipe: less dish washing and on top of that, it is delicious. I found that dicing tempeh slightly smaller (about 0.5" x 0.5" x 0.5") is better because tempeh doesn't easily absorb the sauce, unlike tofu. Thus, dicing it smaller is better because you get more of the sauce coating the tempeh with every bite.

The recipe serves 2 people.


  • 250 grams firm tofu, diced into cubes
  • 200 grams tempeh, diced into cubes. Dicing it into smaller cubes (about 0.5" x 0.5" x 0.5") is better. That way, you can have more sauce to go with the tempeh. Some grocery stores now sell tempeh by the vegan meat section. However, if you cannot find it, the health food store might have it. You can substitute with another 200 grams of tofu if you cannot find tempeh at all.
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • For spice paste: 1/2 tablespoon sambal oelek. Adjust the amount of sambal oelek depending on your tolerance to heat. Half tablespoon makes it mild while 1 tablespoon makes it medium. If you can find red chili peppers in Asian stores, you could use them instead of sambal oelek. Do not use Thai chili peppers because it will be too hot.
  • For spice paste: 3 small or 1 large size shallots, quartered
  • For spice paste: 3 cloves of garlic, halved
  • 1 lemongrass, green part discarded and white part smashed with the back of the knife
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1" fresh galangal, smashed. If you cannot find it, use fresh ginger instead. I use fresh ginger.
  • 300 ml coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar or to taste. Many regular grocery stores now sell palm sugar. So, you may not need to go to Asian stores to find it. However, you can substitute with brown sugar if you cannot find palm sugar.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • pinch of black pepper or to taste


  1. Pour 3 tablespoons vegetable into a frying pan. Heat the pan over medium high heat.
  2. Add diced tofu and fry it in batches until light golden brown. Remove the tofu with slotted spoon to drain the oil and place tofu on a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat this step with the remaining diced tofu. Once all diced tofu has been fried, repeat the step with the tempeh.
  3. While frying tofu and tempeh, process the spice paste ingredients (sambal oelek, shallots, and garlic) in a food processor until it becomes smooth.
  4. Using the same frying pan, add the spice paste into the pan. Saute over medium high heat until the spice paste becomes fragrant. Add lemongrass, bay leaves, and ginger. Saute for 1-2 min. Add coconut milk, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir to mix and taste it. Add more seasoning if needed. Add tofu and tempeh and stir to coat the tofu and tempeh with the sauce. Cook until coconut milk comes to a boil. Once it is boiling, reduce the heat to low and cook for another 2 min. Keep stirring during that time to make sure the coconut milk doesn't separate. Remove the pan from the heat.
  5. Serve with rice while it is still warm.

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