The recipe is mostly vegetarian and follows many principles of eating paleo. The two exceptions are balancan (shrimp paste) and kecap manis (an Indonesian sweet, sticky, rich soya sauce). These can be replaced with either soya sauce, tamari and a little sugar or honey to get a similar result. Please adjust as you need to if you are pure vegetarian or allergic to soy and gluten.
INGREDIENTS (meal for 2)
Tempe - 1 packet (200 grams / 8 ozs)
Olive oil or coconut oil - 1 tablespoon
Garlic - 2 cloves
Shallots - 5 (or 1/2 brown onion)
Lemongrass - 1 heart
Candlenut or macadamia nut - 3 pieces
Cilantro root - 4 stalks
Chili - 2 large chilis (may be de-seeded)
Balaccan or dried shrimp paste - 1/4 teaspoon
(if vegetarian, use 1 teaspoon of soya sauce or tamari)
Tumeric - 1/2 teaspoon
Coconut cream - 3 tablespoons
Kecap Manis - 2 tablespoon (if not available, substitute with 1 tablespoon of dark soya sauce and add 1 teaspoon of sugar)
White pepper - a few dashes to taste
Carbs + Greens
Potato - 1 medium sized, steamed
Sweet potato - 2 medium sized, steamed
Asparagus - 1 large bunch
Olive Oil - 1/2 tablespoon
Chili flakes - 1 good pinch
Corriander leaves - from 1 small stalk
Put all ingredients (except the kecap manis) into a food processor and blend till smooth.
Heat up a frying pan. Pour blended ingredients in and heat gently till cooked through.
Add three tablespoons of water. Simmer until paste changes color.
Stir in kecap manis till well mixed. Add back tempe and coat evenly. Add white pepper to taste.
Cut pre-steamed potato and sweet potatoes into large slices or wedges.
Reheat by pan-frying with 1/4 teaspoon of olive and a little sea salt to taste.
(I like my potatoes to be a little browned and crunchy!)
Remove and set aside.
In the same frying pan, add remaining olive oil and sear the asparagus to desired done-ness.
If using baby asparagus, this takes about 2 minutes.
(The vegetables will continue to cook through in the residual heat, so remove them quickly if you want them to still have a nice bite.)
D) To serve
Place asparagus to a side of the plate. Using tongs or chopsticks, stack the tempe sticks on top.
Arrange the potato slices and wedges to the side of the plate.
Scatter coriander leaves over the plate, followed by a light sprinkling of chili flake,s.
If you like the flavor of fresh lime or calamansi, add a wedge to cut through the richness of the tempe.