Tempeh Stir-fry

Tempting Tempeh Stir-fry with Tofu and Snake Beans

This deliciously meaty (yet meatless!) tempeh stir-fry will pique the tastes of both vegetarians and meat-lovers alike. Singaporeans and Malaysians will know this Malay dish as sambal goreng (meaning: chilli stir-fry).

It’s a protein- and calcium-packed powerhouse, plus it gives a kick from the fire-power of chilli. Here’s an overview of the nutritional value of the main ingredients of this tempeh stir-fry:

Snake beans: a vegetable rich in protein and calcium; go here for our other Chinese snake bean recipe!

Firm tofu (‘tau kwa’): coagulated soy milk, rich in protein and calcium

Tempeh: fermented whole soy beans into cake form rich in protein and calcium

Fresh tomatoes: rich in vitamin C and heart-healthy lycopene

Tempeh, made from fermented whole soy beans, is a great source of protein, and low in saturated fat. Combining it with Asian-inspired spices like lemongrass, green chilli, ginger and garlic makes for a tasty, simple, nutritious dish. Tempeh is meatier than tofu, has a great texture, and soaks up all the flavours of whatever it’s stir-fried or stewed in. It has the power to turn any Meatless Monday into a tastebud party, even for omnivores!

Tempeh originates from ages ago from Indonesia, but the nutty, earthy plant protein has seen a resurgence of interest in the vegetarian sphere across the globe. Tempeh is a cake of partially cooked whole soybeans aged overnight at a tropical temperature. Spores of Rhizopus oligosporus mould are introduced which forms a thick, white mat that binds the beans together. It’s then steamed and ready to eat.

Tempeh is fantastic as a meat substitute, standing up well to the real thing taste-wise and nutritionally. Tempeh contains 8% of the recommended daily amount of both calcium and iron. Fermenting whole soy makes it even more nutritious than normal soy products like tofu, by helping nutrients like calcium, zinc and iron become more absorbable for our body. It’s so healthy because it offers you so many nutrients, minus off the negative effects of eating meat. Before cooking, tempeh contains around 19.5% protein, compared with 17.9% for hamburgers and 21% for chicken.

But re-consider piling on the tempeh goreng you find at the Nasi Padangs. Unfortunately, though, a Malaysian study found that battered and deep-fried tempeh had about half the isoflavones (soy antioxidants) as raw tempeh. So cook this lightly and tenderly with love and care to retain the health benefits, like this tempeh stir-fry does!

Tempting Tempeh Stir-fry with Tofu and Snake Beans


Serves: 6                Time: 40 mins

Ingredients :

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g pack of tempeh, cut into 1cm squares
  • 5cm piece ginger, thinly sliced
  • 3 stalks of thinly sliced spring onions
  • 3 pieces sliced red chilli
  • 2 diced medium tomatoes
  • 2 cloves thinly sliced garlic
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass, halved and cut into 10cm pieces
  • 400g pack of taukwa (firm tofu), cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 bunch of snake beans, sliced into 3cm
  • 1/4 cup kecap manis

Preparation :

1. Heat olive oil in a non-stick saucepan with medium-high heat.
2. Add lemongrass, spring onions, ginger, garlic, and chillies, and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
3. Add tempeh and tofu and sauté for 2 minutes, until they are evenly browned.
4. Throw in tomatoes, snake beans and kecap manis, lightly tossing for 3 minutes until evenly coated and the sauce thickens.
5. Remove lemongrass and ginger, and serve with a bowl of brown rice.

 Nutritional Facts:

Per serving: 227 calories; 14 g fat; 7 g carbohydrates; 17 g protein

Carbohydrate Servings: 0.5