Tempeh with Spicy Yardlong Beans and Coconut Rice

While I also love to use tempeh  as part of Mexican style wraps (see here), I thought it might be nice to eat it as part of something a little less fusion and a little more authentic. Something more Indonesian in other words. This dish was vaguely inspired by a dish called “sajoer beans” and generally makes use of things that I associate with Indonesian cuisine, such as sambal ulek (a delicious condiment made from crushed red chillies and salt), crunchy fried onions and trassi (fermented Indonesian shrimp paste). I’ve also used yardlong beans, also known as kousenband (garters). These beans are literally almost a metre in length and a lot firmer and more flavourful than regular green beans. Nevertheless, if you can’t get hold of them, regular green beans or haricot verts would also work really well. You can make this dish as spicy as you want and even if you are bit overzealous with the sambal you can depend on the fluffy, white coconut rice to soothe the burn.


Ingredients (for 2):

400 g yardlong beans (alternatively, use haricot verts or regular green beans)

5 big shallots, finely sliced

a generous pinch of dried turmeric

a 3 cm piece of ginger root, grated

3 large garlic cloves, crushed

1/2 tsp trassi (Indonesian shrimp paste – leave out if vegan), dissolved in a little bit of warm water

2 tsp sambal ulek + more to serve

200g tempeh, thinly sliced

4 tbsp light soy sauce

1 tbsp brown sugar

for the coconut rice:

120 g basmati (or pandan) rice

1/4 cup coconut milk

3/4 cup water


Yardlong beans or kousenband

  • Steam the tempeh slices for about 10 minutes, halve the slices and soak them in a mixture of soy sauce and brown sugar.
  • Bring the coconut milk, water and rice to the boil, turn the heat down, put the lid on and boil for 10-15 minutes. Set aside and keep covered for 10 minutes.
  • Trim the beans, cut them into smaller pieces and boil them for about 5 minutes. They should be pleasantly tender, but still have a nice bite to them. Drain and rinse with cold water
  • Fry  the sliced shallots with turmeric for about 10 minutes on medium to high heat till they’re totally soft and a bit caramelised.
  • Add ginger and garlic and fry for another minute.
  • Add the beans and the trassi water. And stir-fry until the water evaporates. Then turn down the heat and add the sambal.
  • Fry the tempeh slices in a flat frying pan in a bit of sunflower oil on high heat till they are caramelised and brown. Then add to the beans.
  • To serve: fluff up the rice with a fork, add another spoonful of sambal ulek and top off with crunchy fried onions.


2 thoughts on “Tempeh with Spicy Yardlong Beans and Coconut Rice

    1. Thank you so much! And ooh, that is tricky. I guess you could quite easily make your own sambal by crushing red chillies with salt using a pestle and mortar. As for the tempeh and trassi: trassi is fermented shrimp paste so perhaps something like Thai fish sauce? And the tempeh: well that’s really hard to replace, because there’s nothing quite like it :P. But the beans would be really nice as a veggie side dish as well!


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