Category: Indonesian Cuisine

Authentic Vegan Jackfruit Rendang (Vegetarian Beef Curry, Step-by-step!)

An authentic vegan jackfruit rendang: a vegetarian version of the Indonesian beef rendang curry using canned jackfruit vegetable with just 20 minutes of cooking time! Plus, this recipe is adapted from my mum’s rendang recipe from West Sumatra, Indonesia, so you get all the authentic experience!

P.S. I’ve included step-by-step photos to make this recipe even simpler!

Delicious vegan jackfruit rendang with brown rice on an off-white bowl on a white background.

In this post you’ll learn:

Why You Will Love This Vegan Jackfruit Rendang

  • Rendang was voted the best food in the world by CNN, out of more than 35k votes. Need I say more about why you should make this?😉
  • And psst this is modified from my mum’s heritage recipe. And she is from Padang, the birthplace of rendang😋
  • Although the traditional version is made from beef, this is a vegan and vegetarian rendang version. Plant power!🌱
  • Made from jackfruit, it’s a healthy version of this classic Indonesian dish
  • You only need 20 minutes of ‘actively’ cooking in the kitchen. The other 40 minutes is just for simmering!
  • I’ve included step-by-step pictures to guide you in making this vegetarian rendang! As usual, TFJ’s goal here is to help you feel as if you’ve made the recipe once just by reading the blog post!
A bowl of irresistible vegan rendang with jackfruit served with rice, with a hand on the left.

What is Rendang Made Of?

Traditionally, rendang uses beef as the meat of the dish. For the spices used, most recipes call for shallot, garlic, red chillies, ginger, galangal, lemongrass, coriander, kaffir lime leaves, and bay leaves. Some other ingredients that are often added are turmeric, turmeric leaves, and candlenuts. For the Malaysian version of rendang, desiccated coconut and/or kerisik (toasted coconut butter/paste) are often added.

All these ingredients make up what some like to call “vegan rendang curry”. Although I personally disagree with the use of “curry” in this Indonesian recipe, I can totally understand why it is often called a curry due to its curry-like consistency! Either way, both rendang and curries are super delicious, making them two of my favorite dishes!😄

Vegan rendang jackfruit curry with rice in a white bowl.

Is Rendang Vegetarian / Vegan?

Since traditionally, rendang almost always refers to beef rendang, it is not vegetarian or vegan by default. However, there have been many adaptations to the classic beef rendang recipe such as chicken rendang (rendang ayam) which is quite popular in Indonesia, the country where rendang originated from.

And since more people are adopting a plant-based lifestyle, the classic beef rendang has also been adapted to its plant-based versions such as tofu rendang (rendang tahu), tempeh rendang, mushroom rendang, aubergine rendang, cauliflower rendang, and my ultimate favorite: jackfruit rendang! This way, our plant-based friends can enjoy some vegan beef rendang too!

The meaty texture of a piece of jackfruit rendang on a fork, with the whole pan of jackfruit rendang at the back.

Ingredients

First up, the spices for the vegan rendang curry paste!

Note that you can totally skip these spices and go for a trusted rendang paste instead! We don’t always have the time to make everything from scratch so be kind and cut yourself some slack sometimes 🤍

  • Garlic: Aromatic #1 in this vegetarian rendang.
  • Shallot: Aromatic #2 here. In Indonesian cooking, garlic and shallot almost always go hand in hand!
  • Spanish peppers: Spicing up the dish because Indonesian food is known for its heat🔥🔥🔥. If you live in/around Indonesia and have access to local chilli peppers, feel free to sub them! You can use cayenne peppers or curly red chilli peppers (ID: cabe merah). The dried red chilli version will also work once they are rehydrated.
  • Ginger: Adds that bit of warmth to the dish
  • Galangal: For that unique, citrusy tinge of flavor
  • Lemongrass: Adds that floral, lemony aroma which rounds up the dish well
  • Coriander: For that earthy and nutty tone
  • Salt: The natural flavor enhancer
  • Water: To make sure we can blend our spice paste easily
Vegan Rendang Paste Ingredients - ginger, shallot, garlic, galangal, chillies, lemongrass, candlenuts, coriander, salt, and water.

And now, the ‘meat’ of the dish

  • Jackfruit: Our meat substitute that would give us a ‘meaty’ texture. Be sure to use young, unripe jackfruit for this recipe since ripe jackfruit is sweet and more commonly used as desserts!
    • I’m using canned jackfruit since it’s just way easier but this will also work with raw green, unripe jackfruit
  • Potatoes: Funny story here😁✌ So when I asked my mum why I only see potatoes in her rendang, but not in the restaurants, she told me: “We were poor back then so we couldn’t afford to eat lots of meat”.
    So although most people won’t add potatoes to their rendang, I decided to keep it in since this vegetable rendang is based on my mum’s heritage rendang recipe👩‍👧💗
  • Coconut milk: The thickener that makes that creamy, umami goodness in this vegetarian & vegan rendang!

Optional Ingredients

And some optional ingredients to take your rendang up a notch!

  • Candlenuts/kemiri: Makes for a creamier texture in this jackfruit rendang
  • Kaffir lime leaves: For that extra fragrance that makes your mouth water🤤
  • Bay leaves: As Taste of Home puts it, bay leaves add a “slightly sweet, sort of tea-like note” to your dish which rounds up the flavor from all the spices in this vegan jackfruit rendang
  • Tamarind paste: Some acidity to freshen up the dish!✨
Rendang Vegetables - jackfruit, coconut milk, tamarind paste, oil, potatoes, kaffir lime leaves, bay leaves.

P.S. if you appreciate spices as much as I do, check out my Creamy Tandoori Sauce Pasta recipe which combines Indian spices and the creamy comfort of pasta!

How to Make Vegan Rendang

In short, making vegan rendang is similar to making a stew and leaving it to simmer for a long time (at least 40 minutes) so that all the flavor will be absorbed and the ‘meat’ tenderly cooked.

Once you have made (or bought) your spice paste, simply stir-fry your spice paste until fragrant. Then add the jackfruit and other vegetables, along with coconut milk and water to create a ‘soupy’ mixture. Simmer on low heat and uncovered for at least 40 minutes until the rendang thickens into a curry-like consistency.

Traditionally, rendang is cooked for hours and hours (talking about 8 hours and above here) until most of the moisture is evaporated and that the rendang turns dark brown to black in color. However, cooking your vegan jackfruit rendang for that long is not wise since the jackfruit and other vegetables will turn mushy. As such, I recommend only cooking it for a maximum of 1 hour.

For more detailed instructions, see below.

Delicious, glistening vegetarian jackfruit rendang curry with potatoes on a black pan.

Step-by-step Instructions

I have to admit this isn’t my most straightforward recipe, but I’m here to guide you!💚 I’ve included step-by-step pictures below to help you. Note that the number in the pictures correspond to the number on the steps below.

First, we’ll make the rendang paste

1. Prep the rendang paste: Peel your garlic, shallot, and ginger. Then cut off the top of the Spanish peppers.
2. Blend: Despite the many ingredients required which could be a little bit intimidating, this is the only ‘real’ step in making your spice paste! So blend them all up together!

Now let’s get cooking!

3. Cut: Cube your potatoes into about 2 cm pieces on each side (not in the picture below).
4. Cook the paste: Cook your rendang paste with lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and bay leaves. Cooking your paste will intensify the flavor and makes for that deep, rich flavor we all love! Cook until the paste turns dark brown, for about 6-8 minutes.

Now, we’ll start cooking the other vegetables

5. Add: Now add the jackfruit, potatoes, half a can of coconut milk, and a can of water. Then stir.
It will look a bit ‘soupy’ but don’t worry because most of the moisture will evaporate later on!

6. Simmer: Once it is boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer it for 35-40 minutes, uncovered.

Note that 35-40 minutes is assuming you are using raw jackfruit. If your jackfruit is already cooked/parboiled, 20-25 minutes is enough. If your jackfruit is hard and doesn’t break apart easily, then it’s raw. On the other hand, if you can break it apart easily using your hand or a spoon, then it’s already cooked/parboiled.

7. Add and break apart: After 35-40 (or 20-25) minutes of simmering, add the other half a can of coconut milk. Then break apart the jackfruit using your wooden spatula.

8. Simmer further: Simmer further for 10-15 minutes, until both the jackfruit and potatoes are cooked and the rendang sauce thicken into a curry-like consistency.

9. Serving time! Once the jackfruit and potatoes can be easily pierced by a fork, turn the heat off and add in the tamarind paste/lime juice if using. Stir evenly and serve this vegan rendang on a bed of fragrant brown rice.

Or go fancy and serve it with some Peanut Butter Rice for extra richness! I have to say that’s not the traditional way, but they go well together!

Storage, Meal Prep, and Freezing Instructions

Storage: Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Meal prep: This vegan rendang is a great recipe for meal prep since it lasts for 1 week when stored properly!

Freezing: Although freezing isn’t recommended since this dish is best served when fresh, you can freeze it in an air-tight container for up to 3 months.

A better alternative is to ‘batch-prepare’ your spice paste ingredients, then freeze the blended spice paste.

An overhead shot of vegan rendang curry using canned jackfruit, with a spoon on the left of the bowl.

FAQs

I can’t find candlenuts. Can I substitute/omit them?

The candlenuts (or kemiri) give this rendang that signature ‘creamy’ texture and adds a nutty tone to the dish. However, understanding that this could be hard to get, feel free to omit them.

Can I omit the bay leaves and kaffir lime leaves?

These two leaves really give that rendang smell. However, knowing that they could be hard to get, just know that the recipe will still work although it won’t give the ultimate best results.

One tip though is to use dried bay leaves. They are usually available in most supermarkets since they are often used in soups!

Can I also use dried bay leaves instead of fresh ones?

Yes, you can! We will be simmering the rendang for quite some time so dried ones will work too!

Should I buy young (unripe) or old (ripe) jackfruit?

Get young, unripe jackfruit for this vegetarian rendang. Young jackfruit has a subtle flavor that can absorb the flavor of the dish well. On the other hand, ripe jackfruit tastes sweet and is therefore more suitable for dessert.

They are not substitutable so be sure to get the correct one!

Should I use a pan or a pot?

Traditionally, rendang is cooked in some sort of a wok. I would therefore recommend a big pan if you don’t have a wok.

However, using a pot will also work in a pinch. When I tested this, I found that less water evaporates when using a pot so I will only add 300ml of water instead of 400ml before simmering.

A bowl of rice and vegetarian Indonesian rendang using jackfruit, with two hands holding the bowl.

Looking for more Lunch/Dinner Recipe?

If you are a fan of Indonesian food, check out this Sticky Tempeh recipe, my healthy adaptation of the Indonesian kering tempeh/tempeh orek.

For other drool-worthy meals🤤, check out:

Looking for Easy Desserts or Dessert-like Breakfasts instead? Check out:

Vegan jackfruit rendang curry with potatoes and rice on a white bowl.
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Authentic Vegan Jackfruit Rendang (Vegetarian Beef Curry, Step-by-step!)

An authentic vegan jackfruit rendang: a vegetarian version of the Indonesian beef rendang curry using canned jackfruit vegetable with just 20 minutes of cooking time!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Simmer Time40 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indonesian
Keyword: jackfruit rendang, vegan rendang, vegan rendang curry, vegetable rendang, vegetarian rendang
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 498kcal
Author: Jem @ The Fruity Jem

Ingredients

For the Spice Paste:

  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium shallot
  • 3 Spanish peppers
  • 5 cm ginger (2 inches)
  • 2 Tablespoons galangal powder/laos
  • 2 sticks lemongrass white part only, so the bottom 1/3rd, leave the rest for simmering
  • 1 Tablespoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 10 candlenuts/kemiri (optional)

For the Vegetables:

  • 250 grams potatoes or sub with tempeh for more protein (9 oz)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 can young jackfruit 550 grams (or 19 oz), 280 grams (10 oz) when drained
  • 1 can coconut milk (400 ml, 14 oz)
  • 400 ml water for simmering (14 oz)

Optional Vegetables:

  • 8 kaffir lime leaves (optional)
  • 4 bay leaves (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon tamarind paste or sub with lime juice (optional)

Instructions

Preparation and Cooking the Spice Paste

  • Prep the spice paste: Peel the garlic, shallot, and ginger. Cut off the top of the Spanish peppers.
  • Blend the spice paste: Add all the spice paste ingredients to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth for about 1-2 minutes.
    TIP: You can also double the spice paste recipe and freeze half of them to save time later.
  • Cut: Cut the potatoes into cubes of around 2 cm in each side (around as wide as your thumb).
  • Cook the paste: Heat a large pan on medium high and add the olive oil or any other cooking oil. Once the oil is hot, add the rendang paste (from the step above) and lemongrass. If using, also add the kaffir lime and bay leaves.
    Cook on medium heat while stirring until it turns darker for 6-8 minutes. Be careful not to burn the spice by stirring it every 1-2 minute.

Cooking the Vegetables

  • Add: Once the spice paste turns dark, add the jackfruit and potatoes. Then add half a can of coconut milk (200ml) and 1 can of water (400ml).
    It will look a bit 'soupy' but don't worry because most of the moisture will evaporate later!
    Simmer: Once it's boiling, reduce the heat to low and leave it uncovered to simmer for 35-40 minutes (or 20-25 minutes if your canned jackfruit is already cooked/parboiled). You definitely want it to still be bubbling gently.
    If your jackfruit is hard and doesn't break apart easily, then it's still raw. On the other hand, if you can break it apart easily using your hand or a spoon, then it's already cooked/parboiled.
  • Add and break: After 35-40 (or 20-25) minutes of simmering, add the other half a can of coconut milk. Then break apart the jackfruit using your spatula. I recommend doing this using a wooden cooking spoon.
    Simmer: Give it a good stir and let it simmer further for 10-15 minutes until both the jackfruit and potatoes are cooked and the rendang sauce thicken into a curry-like consistency.
  • Serve: Once you can easily pierce the jackfruit and potatoes by a fork, turn off the heat and add in the tamarind paste/lime juice if using. If not, you can already serve it on a bed of brown rice!

Notes

Ingredients and Equipment Notes:
  • Candlenuts give this rendang that signature ‘creamy’ texture and adds a nutty tone to the dish. However, understanding that this could be hard to get, feel free to omit them.
  • Both bay leaves and kaffir lime leaves really give that authentic rendang smell. However, knowing that they could be hard to get, just know that the recipe will still work although it won’t give the ultimate best results.
    • If you cannot find fresh bay leaves, you can use dried bay leaves. They are usually available in most supermarkets since they are often used in soups!
  • Traditional rendang is cooked in a big wok so if you don’t have a wok (like me), cook it in a big pan instead of a pot.
    • If you only have a pot at hand, that will also work in a pinch. When I tested this, I found that less water evaporates when using a pot so I will only add 300ml of water instead of 400ml before simmering.
Storage, Meal Prep, and Freezing Notes:
  • Storage: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Although kudos to you if you could keep this for 5 days because I always end up finishing them so quickly since it’s so delicious!
  • Meal prep: This vegetable rendang is perfect to batch-cook at the weekend when you have more time. You will be super excited for your next meal just thinking about how much flavor this vegan rendang packs!
  • Freezing: Freeze in an air-tight container for up to 3 months. To heat up, just give them a quick stir fry in a pan. You can also microwave them when pressed for time.

Read More

Sautéed Crumbled Sticky Tempeh (Quick Indonesian Vegetarian Dish)

This Indonesian crumbled sticky tempeh is a quick & healthy sautéed dish that happens to be both vegetarian and vegan. Beginner-friendly & a versatile meat substitute!

With umami seasoning / sauce, it’s a flavorful one-pan recipe that is done in just 35 minutes!

Crumbled sticky tempeh with rice on a white plate and green onions.

In this post you’ll learn:

Watch How to Make Here

Why You Will Love This Crumbled Tempeh

  • It’s packed with flavor!
  • Quick! Done in 35 minutes end-to-end.
  • Tempeh is naturally rich in protein.
  • 100% vegan, thus also 100% vegetarian.
  • A healthy lunch and dinner recipe.
  • A versatile vegan meatless crumbles recipe
  • I’ve included a tutorial video above to make it extra easy for you!

Ingredients

  • Tempeh: This plant-based protein not only has all 9 essential amino acids, but it is also full of health benefits ranging from lowering your cholesterol, protecting your heart, being a good source of B vitamins, and promoting bone health! Plus, they’re the base of our vegan ground meat recipe here!
  • Garlic: Packed with a lot of flavor, garlic is a must in stir-fries including this one.
  • Ginger: An additional aromatic that packs even more flavor into this recipe!
  • Soy sauce: Adds that umami flavor and helps to darken the color into that deep, rich, dark brown color.
  • Maple syrup: The secret ingredient that will help caramelize the tempeh! Any liquid sweetener will do.
  • Lime juice: A bit of tang to round off the flavor.
  • Sriracha (optional): A bit of heat for a kick!
  • Green onion (optional): Some garnish for serving.
Ingredients for tempeh crumbles with labels on a white background.

What is Tempeh Made Out of?

Tempeh is a vegan protein source made from fermented soybeans (which btw made it to my List of 35 Brown Vegetables + Photos!). Tempeh itself originated from Indonesia (which is also where I come from 😉) and it is a very cheap vegan/vegetarian protein source that is commonly found especially on the island of Java.

What does Tempeh Taste Like?

Tempeh has a firm but slightly chewy texture. As a result, tempeh will hold up its shape when cooked. Tempeh also absorbs flavor well so it is perfect as a meat substitute when you are making vegan recipes. In terms of flavor, it has a nutty, earthy flavor with a slightly fermented tone to it.

Those who are trying tempeh for the first time might find its taste a little bit weird due to its fermentation process. Moreover, there aren’t many other food that is similar to tempeh so it might also be a new taste for your taste buds.

A plate of Indonesian tempeh crumbles dish with a fork and small bowls on the side.

What is Sticky Tempeh Crumbles?

This crumbled sticky tempeh uses tempeh with a savory, umami sauce to glaze the tempeh. It is made by first stir-frying some crumbled tempeh, then allowing the sauce to caramelize and thicken to infuse flavor into the tempeh.

A fan of fermented food? Then check out my Kimchi Sushi recipe, or this Kimchi Aioli recipe that is a sure-fire way to add an oomph to your meals! And if you like both soybeans and fermented food, definitely check out this Natto Rolls (Japanese fermented soybeans sushi) recipe!

Step-by-step Instructions

Four simple steps are all you need!

1. Prepare: Peel and mince the garlic and ginger. Then crumble the tempeh until they have a mince-like texture. You can also cut them into sticks for a more authentic, accidentally vegetarian & vegan Indonesian Tempeh Orek recipe (note that the website is in Indonesian, but you can still see how the traditional Indonesian tempeh recipe looks like; plus, doing a quick Google Translate will do the trick!).

2. Mix: Mix together all the ingredients for the tempeh sauce.

3. Sauté time! First, add the aromatics (garlic and ginger) to the skillet and sauté for 2-3 minutes until they turn slightly brown. Then add the crumbled tempeh and fry until golden brown for about 5-6 minutes.

4. Glaze: Glaze the pan with the sauce and cook further for 4-6 more minutes until it’s caramelized!

Do I Need to Steam my Tempeh?

You can, but it’s unnecessary if you don’t mind (or even better, if you love) the taste of tempeh.

Steaming your tempeh reduces the slight bitterness that tempeh has, making this dish more accessible to people who are not used to tempeh/don’t like the flavor.

If you would like to steam your tempeh, you can just use the pan you’re going to stir fry/sauté the tempeh in. Just crumble the tempeh, add them to the pan, and cover it with water over medium heat. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 7-10 minutes until the water reduces.

Top Tips

Cutting – If you’re tight on time, you can also just cut the tempeh into slices, cubes, or sticks (like the traditional Indonesian tempeh orek recipe).

  • You might get less flavor due to the lower surface area, but it will still be an excellent tempeh dish!

Steaming – If you’re not a fan of the tempeh flavor, the secret is to steam it before cooking to neutralize the flavor. Refer to the section above for how to do so.

Garnish – For some garnish, I recommend:

  • Top with 1 Tablespoon chopped green onions and/or 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds for every serving!
  • Mix in 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil just before turning the heat off to give that Chinese food flair.
Close-up of Indonesian sticky tempeh with juicy and saucy glaze.

Is Tempeh Better than Tofu?

Tempeh and tofu are both made from soy beans. They have similar nutrient content but tempeh is richer in protein and fiber. On the other hand, tofu has fewer calories and more calcium. They both have great health benefits such as reducing your risk of heart disease. You can read more about it in this Healthline article to decide for yourself which one suits you better.

In terms of flavor, tofu tends to be more neutral while tempeh could be more of an acquired taste to some. However, in general, tempeh absorbs flavor better than tofu. Speaking of tofu, you might like my Easy Marinated Tofu recipe!

Ways to Serve Your Tempeh Crumbles

I recommend serving your tempeh crumbles on a bed of warm brown rice. If you want to take it up a notch, below are some tasty options:

  • Turmeric rice / nasi kuning
    • Make fancy-looking rice by adding just a tinge of turmeric powder! I would start with 1/4 teaspoon per 1 cup of uncooked rice, added before cooking the rice. Be careful to not add too much since it can taste bitter.
    • Not only is turmeric rice commonly eaten in India, but we Indonesians also have a variety that we love: nasi kuning (literally translated to yellow rice)!
      • Originally, nasi kuning also uses coconut milk, bay leaves, kaffir lime leaves, and lemongrass, but I think adding a bit of turmeric powder is an easy solution to give this tempeh recipe a bit of an Indonesian flair while keeping it simple!
    • Regarded as a super food, turmeric has so many health benefits too due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. A quick tip is to add a pinch of black pepper too so your body can absorb the curcumin better!
  • Coconut rice
    • Adding coconut milk to your rice makes it even more aromatic! Just add 1/4 cup (about 60ml) of coconut milk per 1 cup of uncooked rice! Add this before boiling so the rice can absorb the flavor well!
  • Peanut Butter Rice
    • My 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Rice recipe is actually inspired by the Zimbabwean peanut butter rice. But since peanuts are also commonly used in Indonesian kitchen, they pair great together!
A plate of crispy tempeh crumbles with a fork on a beige napkin.

Storage and Meal Prep Instructions

Storage: Store your tempeh crumbles in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Meal prep: You can make this recipe 5 days ahead which is perfect for a weekday lunch/dinner!

However, if you want it fresh, you can make ahead the sauce and sauté your tempeh + aromatics in the weekend (so steps 1-4). Store them in the fridge and just before you want to serve them, reheat the stir-fried tempeh + aromatics on a pan/skillet, then add the sauce to glaze them (steps 5-6). You would then be done in just 5 minutes!

FAQs

Where do you find tempeh in the grocery store?

Tempeh is typically found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, often near tofu or plant-based meat alternatives.

Can I substitute the maple syrup with another sweetener?

For sure! I tried substituting it with brown sugar and agave nectar and they both work well. I have not tested it with other types of sweetener but I can imagine it would work!

Can I substitute the lime juice?

Yes! You can substitute it with lemon juice.

I’m super tight on time. Can I just cut the tempeh into slices or cubes?

Sure you can! You might get less flavor due to the lower surface area in tempeh slices or tempeh cubes, but when pressed for time, this will still be an excellent recipe!

Another option which is good for meal prepping is to make the sauce and stir fry your tempeh + aromatics, then store them in the fridge. Just before you want to serve them, reheat the stir-fried tempeh + aromatics on a pan, then add the sauce to glaze them. You would then be done in just 5 minutes!

A pan of quick and healthy Indonesian sticky tempeh.

Looking for More Easy Lunch/Dinner Recipes?

A fan of Indonesian food? Then check out My Mum’s Vegan Rendang Recipe (Indonesian Curry-like Dish)

If you like your spices, I highly recommend this Creamy Tandoori Sauce Pasta which combines Indian spices and the creamy comfort of pasta meals!

And if you are a fan of Asian food in general, check out my 30-Minute Rainbow Poke Bowl or this Gochujang Aioli recipe for a Korean twist in your dips! Or may I suggest my sushi series of recipes? 😉

Indonesian crumbled sticky tempeh dish with rice and green onions.
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Sautéed Crumbled Sticky Tempeh (Quick Indonesian Vegetarian Dish)

This Indonesian crumbled sticky tempeh is a quick & healthy sautéed dish that is accidentally vegetarian & vegan. Beginner-friendly & a versatile meat substitute!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese, Indonesian
Keyword: crumbled tempeh, indonesian tempeh, quick tempeh recipes, sauteed tempeh, sticky tempeh, tempeh dishes, vegetarian tempeh recipes
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 354kcal
Author: Jem @ The Fruity Jem

Ingredients

Brown Rice:

  • ½ cup brown rice uncooked (95 grams)
  • 1 cup water (240 ml)

Vegetables:

  • 4 garlic cloves finely minced
  • 2 inches ginger finely minced (5cm)
  • 1 block tempeh (8oz) crumbled (225 grams)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil or any other cooking oil

Tempeh Sauce:

  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce (45 ml), sub with liquid aminos
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup sub with agave nectar or another sweetener of choice
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice (from about 1 medium lime), or sub with lemon juice or rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha or sambal oelek (optional)

Garnish (Optional):

  • 1 medium green onion for garnish chopped (optional)

Instructions

Preparation

  • Cook the rice: Cook the rice according to package instructions.
    If the package instruction is missing, here is the general instruction for cooking brown rice.
    Add 1/2 cup of uncooked rice and 1 cup of water to a saucepan or a small pot, then bring to a boil.
    Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until all the water is absorbed and the rice is fluffy. Afterward, turn off the heat and cover the pot to let it steam for 5 more minutes.
  • Mince: Peel and finely mince the garlic and ginger into small pieces.
    Quick tip: It's so much easier to peel your ginger using a spoon. See video above on top of the blog post for a demonstration!
  • Crumble: Crumble the tempeh by first slicing them thinly, then cutting it lengthwise into thin sticks before mincing it into small crumbles (see video above).
    You can also use a box grater for this.
  • Mix: Meanwhile, mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl with a fork or a whisk.

Now the real cooking!

  • Heat: Put the pan/skillet on the stove over medium heat. Then add the oil.
  • Fry garlic and ginger: Once the oil is hot (after about 30 seconds), add the minced garlic and ginger. Fry until fragrant and the garlic turns slightly brown (but not burnt), for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add tempeh: Add the crumbled or cubed tempeh to the pan. Turn up the heat to high. Sauté until the tempeh turns golden brown, about 5-6 minutes.
  • Check: By now, your brown rice should be ready. Turn off the heat and cover the pot to let it steam.
  • Add sauce: Once the tempeh turns golden brown, pour the sauce mixture into the pan. Turn the heat to medium low and keep stirring until the sauce coats the tempeh evenly and caramelizes into a deep, rich dark brown color. This will take about 4-6 more minutes.
  • Serve: Serve on a bed of fragrant brown rice and top with spring onions! Note that the flavor of the crumbled tempeh itself might be too strong for you when its on its own, but it's absolutely delicious when paired with rice!

Notes

Recipe Tips

Cutting – If you’re tight on time, you can also just cut the tempeh into slices, cubes, or sticks (like the traditional Indonesian tempeh orek recipe).
    • You might get less flavor due to the lower surface area, but it will still be an excellent tempeh dish!
Steaming – If you’re not a fan of the tempeh flavor, the secret is to steam it before cooking to neutralize the flavor. Refer to the section above for how to do so.
Garnish – For some garnish, I recommend:
    • Top with 1 Tablespoon chopped green onions and/or 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds for every serving!
  • Mix in 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil just before turning the heat off to give that Chinese food flair.

Storage and Meal Prep Notes

  • Storage: Store your sticky tempeh in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Meal prep: You can make this recipe 5 days ahead which is perfect for a weekday lunch/dinner!
    • However, if you want it fresh, you can make ahead the sauce and sauté your tempeh + aromatics at the weekend (so steps 1-4). Store them in the fridge and just before you want to serve them, reheat the sautéed tempeh + aromatics on a pan/skillet, then add the sauce to glaze them (steps 5-6). You would then be done in just 5 minutes!

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