July 1, 2021

Stir Fried Tempeh in spicy nutty sauce

Stir Fried Tempeh in a spicy nutty sauce

Over the past several weeks during this lockdown, each time I’ve tried to obtain blocks of tofu from the grocery store, they’ve all been sold out. Who knew there were that many people out there who LOVE tofu! Well, a side benefit has been the sudden surplus of tempeh, which is another favorite of mine. So instead of tofu being in frequent rotation in our household, I’ve been making stir fries with tempeh instead.

What is tempeh?

Tempeh, a fermented soy bean cake is something I grew up eating in Singapore. Unlike tofu which can be rather bland, tempeh, due to the fermentation has a slightly stronger flavor than tofu. It's commonly found in Indonesian cooking and uses black soy beans.

I was prepared to make my standard tempeh recipe this weekend when I thought I’d just scour the web for other ways to make a tempeh stir fry (as we were all getting a bit bored of my usual soy sauce/oyster sauce/thai fish sauce/thai basil combo). And right on the very first link that I clicked on was a Sesame Ginger Tempeh Stir Fry developed by Brita of the blog Food with Feeling. What caught my eye immediately was that it involved green beans, something I was desperate to finish up in my fridge. Secondly her ingredient list wasn’t extensive and I had (almost) every single one of those ingredients in my pantry or fridge (except the carrots, for which I had none). As most of us are experiencing some sort of shortages to certain fruits and vegetables during this quarantine period, I was thrilled that this recipe was incredibly adaptable and included many of the Asian pantry staples I blogged about for which you can download the free pantry list here.

I've made this recipe several times now and have modified the original recipe to suit my taste buds but definitely check out the original recipe if you're looking for a milder flavor.

The whole thing came together in about 45 minutes and the moment I took a bite out of it, I was immediately transported back to my childhood eating satay and dousing all that satay gravy on everything on my plate. This sauce made with sun butter for the stir fry was so similar to that satay sauce I am so familiar with ! And with a peanut-allergy at home, the sun butter was the perfect substitute! I added a healthy drizzle of chili sesame oil on my dish, but you can omit that if adding chilies to your dish isn’t quite your thing. If you like things spicy, definitely make this dish! You won’t be disappointed!

Stir Fried Tempeh in spicy nutty sauce

A nutty tempeh stir fry with all the deliciousness of a well balanced garlic and ginger sauce. Served alongside a bowl of brown or white rice.


Shilpa Iyer












  • 8oz package of tempeh, cubed
  • 1/2 pound green beans, washed and trimmed
  • 2 Tbsp neutral oil
  • 1 inch ginger roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 red chili, deseeded, roughly chopped
  • 3 tsp sun butter or any other nut butter of choice
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp honey or other sweetener of choice
  • 2 tsp corn starch mixed with 2 tsp water
  • sesame seeds and chili sesame oil for garnishing


  1. Place the ginger, garlic, chili, sun butter, soy sauce and honey in a blender and whisk until smooth. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot of salted boiling water, blanch the trimmed green beans until they're al dente, approximately 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large frying pan, heat the oil and add the cubed tempeh. Fry on each side for approximately 1-2 minutes per side. Remove and drain on paper towels.
  4. In the same frying pan, add the blended sauce ingredients and sauté on medium heat for 1-2 minutes so the ginger, garlic and chili has a chance to cook.
  5. Add the fried tempeh and green beans to the sauce and sauté on medium heat until the green beans are fully cooked, approximately 3 minutes.
  6. To thicken the sauce, add the corn starch mix and lower the flame. Stir for 1-2 minutes until the sauce thickens
  7. Garnish with sesame seeds and chili sesame oil. Serve with steaming rice.
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