Gulai Tempeh (Tempeh Stew)- Pieces of tempeh are cooked in aromatic spices, herbs, and coconut milk. Vegan and gluten-free friendly recipe.
7 years ago I couldn’t find tempeh anywhere here in Minnesota. Tempeh is so easy to find in the majority of grocery stores these days. Weirdly, I can’t find tempeh at Asian grocery store at all. I first found tempeh at Whole Food Market then at Target. Thanks to the popularity of vegan and meatless diet these days, tempeh is pretty easy to find now.
WHAT IS GULAI?
It looks like curry, but we don’t call it curry in Indonesia. Gulai is originated from Sumatra, Indonesia and the Padang cuisine is also famous for its gulai. Gulai is made with many aromatic spices and herbs (as you can see from the ingredient list) and also has coconut milk in it. The Gulai itself has different varieties depending on the regions. Gulai Padang usually has a thicker sauce, while the Javanese version has thinner sauce. I like gulai tempeh with a thinner sauce.
SPECIAL INGREDIENT USED IN THIS GULAI TEMPEH RECIPE
If you have never heard of tempeh before, well, perhaps you should check it out. This nutritious food is one of my favorites. I talked more about tempeh here. It’s an excellent source of non-animal based protein. You can also learn how to make your own tempeh from this tutorial.
Availability: Any health food stores, your local Target stores might have it too. If you choose to make your own, you can get Tempeh Starter here.
My gulai tempeh looks more at the yellow side instead of orange reddish like a red curry. That’s because I didn’t put any chili in there because of my kids. You can adjust how spicy you want it.
THERE ARE MANY INGREDIENTS USED IN GULAI TEMPEH
Yes, there are. Please don’t get intimidated by them. They can all be easily found and I used most powdered spices to make this recipe more approachable for people who want to try making this gulai.
Gulai Tempeh (Tempeh Stew)
- 8 oz tempeh cut into 1-inch cubes
- 8 oz green beans / long beans cut into 3-4 inch length and blanch in boiling water briefly
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp coconut sugar
- 1 tsp Salt to taste
- 1 Tbsp cooking oil
- 7 Fresno red peppers optional, see notes
- 3 Thai red chili optional, see notes
- 4 shallots peeled
- 4 cloves garlic peeled
- 1 inch fresh ginger root
- 3-4 red chilis- optional
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp galangal powder
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 4 cloves
- 4 Kaffir lime leaves tear edges to release flavor. Omit if cannot find
- 6 Bay leaves
- 1 stalk lemongrass remove woody end on top, bruised with heavy object
- Fried shallots crisp bawang goreng
- Place the ingredients for ground spices into a food processor and grind into a paste. Set aside
- Preheat medium to large pot with cooking oil. When hot enough, add in the ground spices and other spices and saute for about 5 minutes until really fragrant
- Add fresh herbs and the chicken broth and bring to a gentle simmer. Add green beans and cook for about 5 minutes until soft, but not mushy. Add tempeh and coconut milk and bring to a gentle simmer (do not boil) for another 2 minutes.
- Season with coconut sugar and salt to your taste. Garnish with fried shallots crisp and serve as part of a multi-course meal with rice
Other Gulai recipes you might like:
GULAI TELUR PADANG (PADANG-STYLE EGGS IN SPICY COCONUT SAUCE)
Just tried it now, it was delicious. I made my first batch of tempeh & wanted to try something new. Used veg stock instead of chicken, added some baby corn & sugar snap peas along with the beans & served with rice. I used a little extra stock to let the tempeh & herbs to simmer for about 20mins. Veggies in at the end for about 4 mins. So nice to try something like this that doesn’t require shrimp paste & fish sauce.
Hi Richard, it sounds so delish! I love the addition of baby corn and sugar snap peas in there. I have to agree that it’s nice to have something simple like this. Thank you for sharing!
Do you not pre boil the Tempeh? Is it only the two minutes in the end? I thought it should be boiled to remove the bitterness.
Best regards Lasse
Hi Lasse, you don’t need to pre boil the tempeh. We don’t usually do that in Indonesia, but if you find that the tempeh you have is bitter, you can certainly pre boil or steam it before cooking it, otherwise, yes, it’s the two minutes in the end when I added them in. Hope it helps.