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Indonesian Tempeh Curry with Coconut Rice

This Indonesian tempeh curry is creamy with coconut milk and rich in protein from the tempeh. In Indonesia, tempeh is known as ‘the meat of the fields’ and is valued as a cheaper healthier alternative to meat. We love it too, especially in this sumptuous curry! Don't let the long list of ingredients put you off. It only takes about 30 minutes to prep and 25 minutes of cooking time. And the leftovers make a great packed lunch. Nourishing and full of flavour, tuck into this tempeh curry and let us know what you think!

Indonesian Tempeh & Sweetcorn Curry with Coconut Rice

Photo by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures

Indonesian Tempeh Curry with Nasi Kuning Coconut Rice

Vegan | Serves 4

Prep time: 30 minutes | Cook time: 25 minutes


  • 150g tempeh cut into slices
  • sunflower oil for frying


  • 2 tbsp shoyu
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp kecap manis or brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp hot chilli sauce

Garlic paste

  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, chopped
  • 2.5cm fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

Everything else

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 8 cardamom pods, bruised
  • small piece cinnamon stick
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 150ml water
  • 150g carrots, sliced into matchsticks
  • 125g baby sweetcorn, sliced lengthways
  • 1 red or orange pepper, sliced
  • 150g green beans, cut in half
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • salt and black pepper
  • handful fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 large red chilli, sliced


  1. Make up the marinade. Pour over the tempeh slices and leave to marinate for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure that the tempeh is evenly covered.
  2. Blend the garlic, chilli and ginger in a mini food processor to a smooth paste or chop finely.
  3. Heat the sunflower oil in a large saucepan, add the garlic paste and stir-fry until fragrant. Add the turmeric, whole cardamom pods and cinnamon stick and quickly stir-fry.
  4. Add the coconut milk and water, stir well and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the carrots and simmer for 5 minutes, then add the sweetcorn, red or orange pepper and green beans and simmer until just tender.
  6. Add the lemon juice and season to taste.
  7. When the curry is ready fry the tempeh.
  8. The tempeh should have absorbed most of the marinade. Drain off any remaining marinade, pat the tempeh dry with kitchen paper and fry in sunflower oil until golden and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper.
  9. Top the curry with the tempeh slices, chopped coriander and sliced red chilli and serve with Nasi Kuning coconut rice (recipe below).

Yellow Coconut Rice (Nasi Kuning)

In Indonesia coconut rice is called Nasi Kuning or very yellow rice, from the turmeric, which colours the rice a beautiful golden yellow.

Vegan, Gluten free | Serves 4

Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 10 minutes


  • 125g jasmine fragrant rice
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 lemon grass stalk, bruised
  • 2 lime leaves
  • 100ml coconut milk
  • 100ml water


  1. Rinse the rice and put into a saucepan with all the other ingredients.
  2. Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid and simmer on the lowest heat for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave to stand covered for a further 5 minutes.
  3. Fluff up the rice with a fork and serve steaming hot.


  • Tempeh is made of compressed lightly fermented soya beans. It’s packed full of protein, free of cholesterol and has a nutty flavour and a chewy texture. You can only buy tempeh frozen from wholefood shops and Asian stores. Keep in the freezer.
  • Kecap Manis is a sweet dark soya sauce from Indonesia. You can buy it from oriental stores and in the specialist section of some supermarkets. If you can’t find any, mix 2 tablespoons of shoyu with 1 teaspoon of soft brown sugar.

Indonesian Tempeh & Sweetcorn Curry with Coconut Rice
Photo by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures

We run vegetarian Indonesian cooking courses throughout the year so if you're looking for more inspiration, check out our course calendar.

You might also like our other Far Eastern recipes and our post on Tempeh Basics including marinades and quick recipes.

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