Chili-Topped Tempeh

Vegetable Recipes

(Inspired by Sambal Tempe Penyet)

“What is tempeh?” you might ask. Well, this high protein fermented soybean patty has made its way to one of my favorite and popular restaurants like M Henry in Chicago as part of their lunch menu. The food’s versatility and nutritional values have made tempeh possible to use as meat replacement in certain dishes, like tempeh chorizo which is delicious. I am not a vegetarian but I do appreciate food varieties. They make meal time more exciting. And it’s certainly great to see that this Indonesian origin staple food has gained popularity abroad.

Though there are many ways to enjoy tempeh, my favorite has always been this chili-topped tempeh served alongside my spinach and corn soup and white jasmine rice.

Here’s how I prepare the chili-topped tempeh:

In a food processor, chop the following items to make the topping:

  • 1 Shallot
  • 2 Garlic
  • 7-9 Thai peppers (Please adjust accordingly. Substitute with cayenne or hot finger peppers if Thai peppers are not available)
  • 1 Tomato
  • 2 Kaffir lime leaves
  • Salt

Preparing the tempeh:

  • 1 Tempeh patty (Lightlife brand is usually available at most grocery stores’ organic/vegetable section)
  • Halve lengthwise into two thinner slices and then cut the two into a total of four patties
  • Add a pinch of salt on both sides
  • Heat up vegetable oil in a frying pan (medium heat) and fry until the surface of the patties turn brown
  • Place on a plate with a couple of paper towel to remove excess oil
  • The tempeh should be firm and crunchy

Cover the crunchy tempeh with the chili. Press gently with a spoon so that the inside of the patties get coated by the chili topping too.


PS: Thai peppers are normally sold at Asian grocery market. If they are not available, it’s fine to substitute with chili peppers such as cayenne and hot fingers (I’d say any peppers that are long and slim should be fine). Add red bell pepper for color.

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