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Authentic Recipe of Sambal Tumpang. Appetizing Indonesian Traditional Old Tempeh Chili Sauce from East & Central Java.

This recipe of Sambal Tumpang is authentic and traditional, as native housewives and cooks from Java locally curate it.

Things To Know About Sambal Tumpang Recipe.

Sambal is arguably the most variational Indonesian traditional food in existence, with every region in Indonesia having its own variant of Sambal.

Historically, sambal was invented during the colonization of Indonesia, during which sambal was not as popular as it is today. The exact origin of sambal is unknown, but it was due to the Portuguese and Dutch bringing the plant to Indonesia (Dutch East Indies back then) that sambal started to grow and spread throughout the country.

One of the more unique sambals on the list is sambal tumpang. It is unique because of the main ingredients used in this sambal. It used almost-spoiled or old tempeh, cooked in coconut milk and herbs with spicy chili peppers to give the heat.

Originally, sambal tumpang was invented as a desperate attempt to salvage an already spoiled block of tempeh, the Javanese people cooked the tempeh in coconut milk and herbs to mask the smell, and it turned out to be delicious.

The tempeh wasn’t rotten or anything. They are simply just over fermented and colonized by lactic acid bacteria, giving them their distinct smell and flavor. They are nutritious and safe to eat, so for the adventurous folks out there, sambal tumpang is a must-try!

Authentic Recipe of Sambal Tumpang. Appetizing Indonesian Traditional Old Tempeh Chili Sauce from East and Central Java.

Local Recipe Name with Local Characters: Sambal Tumpang – Sambal Tempe Bosok
User submitted Recipe
5 from 1 vote

— General Atributes of This Recipe:

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


Servings 2 Portions
Calories / Serving 434 kcal


  • 150 Grams (5.29 oz) Tempeh Semangit
  • 200 mL (6.76 floz) Coconut Milk
  • 1 Thumb Fresh Galangal – Kencur – Aromatic Ginger – Kaempferia Galanga – Sand Ginger – Cutcherry – Resurrection Lily
  • 2 Piece Bay Leaf Medium
  • Vegetable Oil For frying
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Ingredients for Blended Spices

  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 5 Cloves Shallot Onion
  • 1 Thumb Fresh Galangal – Kencur – Aromatic Ginger – Kaempferia Galanga – Sand Ginger – Cutcherry – Resurrection Lily
  • 10 Piece Red Bird’s Eye Chili Pepper
  • 5 Piece Red Curly Chili Pepper
  • 2 Teaspoon Salt


Blended Spices

  • Into a food processor, add the peppers, garlic, shallot, kencur, salt, and sugar.
  • Blend them with a tablespoon of vegetable oil.
  • Once blended into a smooth paste, store it while we prepare the tempeh.

Cooking the Sambal

  • First, prepare a pot and fill it with water, bring it to a rolling boil
  • Once boiling, add the tempeh into the water and cook until very soft.
  • Take out the tempeh and mash it
  • Now, into a frying pan, add 100 ml (3-4oz) of vegetable oil and bring it to heat.
  • Fry the blended spices along with the galangal and bay leaves, mix and fry until fragrant and begin to darken
  • Add the mashed tempeh into the pan, mix well while pressing down with the spatula to break down the tempeh even more.
  • Lastly, add the coconut milk, mix and cook until it thickens.
  • The dish is done!

— Specific Atributes of This Recipe:


Calories: 434kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 20gFat: 30gSaturated Fat: 20gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 2367mgPotassium: 1288mgFiber: 4gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 2480IUVitamin C: 326mgCalcium: 141mgIron: 8mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Cooking tip for making Sambal Petai

If you don’t like using spoiled tempeh, you can use regular tempeh instead.

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