Recipe Rice & Grains

Tempe Penyet with Sambal and Basil

Tempe Penyet in a wooden plate layered with banana leaves

Tempe penyet or smashed tempeh is one of my favorite vegetarian dishes. It is so delicious, affordable, and easy to make.

Tempe Penyet with Sambal and Basil


  • 1 block tempeh, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 200 ml water
  • Oil for frying


  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 5 red chilies
  • 3 bird’s eye chilies
  • Salt and sugar to taste
  • a handful of fresh basil
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lime


  1.  Mix garlic paste, salt, pepper, and water in a shallow bowl. Add tempeh slices and marinate for about 15-30 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, pound the garlic, chilies, salt, and sugar in a mortar and pestle. They don’t need to be super fine, you just want to bring out the flavors from garlic and chilies.
  3. Add half of the basil to the sambal. Then carefully pour the hot oil onto the sambal. Mix everything well.
  4. Drain and pat dry the tempeh. Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a nonstick pan or cast iron pan. Shallow fry tempeh until browned on both sides.
  5. Put fried tempeh with sambal and gently smash the tempeh. Add more basil and drizzle with lime juice before serving.

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