You know those dishes you just want to cook over and over and over again? On a recent trip to Sumatra, my friends and I fell head over heels in love with a dish served at Back to Nature called Tempe Semur (front left of the picture above). A sweet dish full of tomato, ginger and nutmeg. The smell when it's being cooked is absolutely divine and after a bit of hard work, I've managed to replicate it pretty well! Keep reading to see the recipe.
Tempe is a soy product popular in Indonesia and is a great source of protein. You should be able to find it in health-food stores or near where they stock the tofu in your local supermarket. Can't find it? Just use tofu. If you like, you can also substitute with chicken but this requires pre-browning and a longer simmering time.
- 2 packs of tempe, sliced or diced - your choice!
- 1 small brown onion, diced
- 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2cm piece of ginger root, grated
- 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tablespoon ground pepper
- 3 cloves
- 4cm stick of cinnamon
- 250g fresh tomatoes, sliced into wedges
- 1/4 cup kecap manis (or sweet, thick soy sauce)
- 2 tablespoons palm sugar (or honey)
- 1 & 1/2 cup water
- Optional: pre-pan fry the tempe.
- Mash the onion, garlic and ginger together (or blend).
- Add this mixture to a pre-heated pan over a low heat. Sauté for a few minutes until fragrant, making sure the mixture does not brown.
- Add the water, nutmeg, pepper, cloves, cinnamon and kecap manis until evenly distributed.
- Slowly add the tomatoes and tempe, stirring over a high heat for approx. 20 minutes until the water starts to evaporate and the mixture starts to thicken to the desired consistency.
- Serve with plain steamed rice.
If you prefer your dishes with a little kick, whip up a sambal or add some chilli to the dish in step 2. To make it more creamy, consider adding 1/2 cup of coconut milk in step 6.