Pestos, Dips & Sauces

Tempeh with Sweet Sour Sauce

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Tempeh with a creamy sweet-sour sauce is a healthy spin of one of the most commonly ordered Chinese takeout. If you love tofu, then you are going to go nuts for tempeh. It is related to tofu in the sense that it is prepared from fermented soya beans and the best part about tempeh is that you don’t need to endure the arduous draining process of tofu.

Being soy-based, tempeh is an amazing source of protein and for the best health benefits, go for gluten-free tempeh. There are so many ways of preparing tempeh. You can choose first to marinate your tempeh before frying. However, we will skip the marination process for this tempeh with sweet and sour sauce and jump into the frying process as the tempeh will beautifully soak up the sweet and sour sauce.

This tasty tempeh with sweet, sour sauce can be used as part of so many recipes. You can choose to serve it on a bed of rice; you can use it as a taco filler, in chili, barbeque, or even gyros as a high protein meat substitute.

Tempeh Sweet Sour Sauce

Lunch starter Asian
By Dada Shivananada Serves: 4 -5
Prep Time: 10 min Cooking Time: 20 min Total Time: 30 min

Nutritional Benefits: Tempeh packs digestive tract-friendly microorganisms, heart-healthy fiber, plant-based protein, bone-healthy calcium, and potassium which plays an important role in promoting heart and kidney health, nerve transmissions, and muscle contractions. It is also rich in iron which helps produce proteins in your red blood cells that transport oxygen from your lungs to your muscles and throughout your body. In addition to these, tempeh also contains riboflavin, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, folate, pantothenic acid, thiamin, zinc, and copper.


  • 1 block tempeh, cut into thick matchsticks or diced into cubes
  • 1 lemongrass 2cm long, bruised at the root end, or 2 drops of essential oil.
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 green or red chilies, thinly sliced diagonally (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp of asafoetida (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sweet peas
  • 1 tbsp guar rock sugar (from most Asian stores)
  • 3 tbsp sweet soy sauce with 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • oil, for deep frying and for sautéing (use either coconut oil or peanut oil)
  • 200 gm of noodles or rice to go along with tempeh. (use what is sufficient for the meal)


Grind the following into spice paste


1 tsp asafoetida, small piece lemongrass 2cm from the base of the root, 1/2 thumb-sized galangal, (a sweet variety of fresh ginger from Indonesia)

Prepare the tempeh


Heat enough oil in a wok or frying pan until hot but not smoky; add in tempeh and fry until golden brown. Drain on wire colander and dry on rack/paper towel.


Remove the oil from the wok or frying pan, and only leave about two tablespoons; sauté the fresh spice paste, lemongrass, and bay leaves until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.


Add red or green chilies, sweet peas, and sauté for about 2 minutes or until wilted.


Return the fried tempeh to the wok or pan, season with salt, sugar, sweet soy sauce, and sweet peas. Toss until the tempeh pieces are fully coated with the sweet soy sauce.


Turn off heat and serve immediately with steamed white rice or noodles.


This tempeh sauce makes an easy and delicious lunch.

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