This kind of dishes maybe sound strange to your ears, well let me introduce it to you :D, Tongseng are curry like Indonesian dishes, commonly in Indonesia this dishes are cook with mutton, beef or chicken. While for this recipe, I change the main protein ingredient into tempeh, it taste so delicious, but I think you can also replace tempeh with firm tofu if you have difficulties to find tempeh.


Originally this are traditional dishes come from central Java. But quite easy to find this dishes across Java island or even across Indonesia, it is easy to love this dishes, the taste are savoury, sweet and little bit spicy, or you can put a lot of whole chilli so you can much it while you enjoy the broth *owwh hot spicy.

The method to cook this dishes is quite interesting, first you need to make coconut milk broth, this broth are infused with a lot of spices, spice such as cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and fragrance leaves.

After the broth are made, then the cooking still continue by sautéed slice of shallot and garlic, and then you taking some part of the broth and boil it for some moment, then you add cabbage, the authentic vegetable that commonly used for Tongseng is slice of cabbage, also need to be add whole green or red bird eye chilli  *HOT and lot of spring onion. The Tongseng broth also boiling together with kecap manis or sweet soy sauce (sweet flavour of the broth are come from this sweet soy sauce)

I hope, I making you curious with this dishes and want to tried it ;), lets go




Spice paste:

  • 1 Big size of French shallot
  • 3 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 cm ginger
  • 4 candle nut or you can replace it with 4-5 roasted cashew nut

For the broth other ingredient

  • 2 cardamom, smash it
  • 2 cm cinnamon
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/2 whole nutmeg
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 lemon grass, bruise the white tip
  • 2 cm galangal
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • 300 ml thick coconut milk
  • 1200 ml water
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp brown sugar



  • 1 medium shallot, slice it
  • 2 garlic clove
  • 2 spring onion, separate between the white and green tips then slice it. Used the white tip for the sautéed, it added a lot of fragrance, while the green tip, sprinkle it before you taking off the heat.
  • 1 bowl of the broth
  • 200 gram tempeh, slice it like French fries
  • Handfull of slice cabbage
  • 1 tomatoes, slice it roughly
  • 5-7 green or red bird eye chilli
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 3 tbs sweet soy sauce
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • Salt and sugar if necessary



  1. In medium heat and medium size pot, put inside the mix spice paste and vegetable oil, sautéed until fragrance, after it fragrance, put inside the cardamom, cinnamon, clove, whole nutmeg, bay leaves, lemon grass and galangal. Sautéed them for few minute until releasing fragrance aroma.
  2. After the spice mix are heady fragrance, put inside the water and the coconut milk, stir them frequently until in boiling.
  3. After boiling season with sea salt and sugar. Give a taste and correcting the taste according your preference
  4. Boiling the broth for another minute, 5-6 minute are good
  5. Broth are ready for next cooking


  1. In medium heat and medium size pan, put inside the vegetable oil, shallot, garlic and the white tip of spring onion, sautéed them until fragrance.
  2. After the shallot, garlic and spring onion are fragrance, put inside a bowl of the broth, white pepper and the sweet soy sauce, Stir them well and give it a taste, correcting the flavour according your preference (for sweet and savoury), then let the broth boiling,
  3. After boiling put inside the tempeh, cabbage and the tomatoes. Cooked for a couple minute until the broth are a bit reduce.
  4. The Tongseng are ready.


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