sambal tumpang

Sambal Tumpang Recipe: The Best Tempeh Curry Ever

Welcome to another great sambal recipe! Sambal tumpang is a sambal that uses tempeh as it’s main ingredient. Using santan to create a curry-like dish.

To make sambal tumpang, simply marinate some tempeh beforehand. Fry the marinated tempeh with some ground ingredients and add creamed coconut, that’s it!

What is Sambal Tumpang?

Sambal Tumpang originates from Indonesia, offering a unique take on sambal by blending tempeh into a curry-like dish. This version stands out with its mix of savory tempeh and a rich, spicy sauce.

It’s a great addition to rice and brings a new flavor to the table. Let’s dive in and make some!

Before starting, if you’re interested in making rice to pair with this sambal, try out my nasi minyak dish and make sure to start of with the rice as it needs some resting time. Combine it with marinating the tempeh for the most time efficient strategy!

Step 1: Collect the ingredients

sambal tumpang

Sambal tumpang

Sambal tumpang! This great curry-like sambal will leave you speechless! Try it out now if you're into some spicy vegetarian curries. Enjoy!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Sambal
Cuisine Indonesian
Servings 4
Calories 450 kcal


  • Food processor


  • 400 g tempeh
  • 2 red paprikas
  • 4 large chillies (~10cm)
  • 2 onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp kecap manis100 g creamed coconut (santan)Spices: 1/2 tsp each of white pepper, cumin, curry powder, turmeric, coriander powder, garlic flakesSalt to taste
  • 3 tsbp kecap manis
  • 100 g santan (creamed coconut)


  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic flakes
  • salt to taste


  • Collect the ingredients
  • Marinate the tempeh
  • Chop and grind the ingredients
  • Fry sambal tumpang
  • Serve and conserve sambal tumpang
Keyword Sambal tumpang

Note: the given kcal count may vary depending on your ingredients and cooking measures. I’ve roughly estimated is using an online tool, take it with a grain of salt.

sambal tumpang ingredients

Step 2: Marinate the tempeh

Cut the tempeh into bite-sized pieces. Mix it in a bowl with kecap manis and a bit of the spice mix. Let it marinate to soak up the flavors for at least 15 minutes, ideally a couple of hours.

marinating tempe
marinated tempe

Step 3: Chop and grind the ingredients

Chop the red paprikas, chillies, onions, and garlic. Wash, peel and chop them roughly before adding them to your food processor to grind. This will be the flavorful base of your sambal tumpang that thickens the sauce at the same time.

grinding ingredients
combining spices and ground ingredients

Step 4: Fry sambal tumpang

Heat a fryingpan, add a generous amount of cooking oil and the tempeh until cripsy. Add the ground ingredients next, mix well and fry for a couple of minutes.

Frying tempe
Fried tempeh

When the mixture has been frying for a couple of minutes, put in the santen block together with some water. Consider the desired thickness of the sauce when adding water, I personally added just a small amount!

adding ground ingredients
Adding santan to pan

Let the santan melt and mix well with the water and ingredients, if the sauce is too runny, let it boil a bit longer to thicken and coat the tempeh completely.

sambal tumpang finished

Step 5: Serve and conserve sambal tumpang

Your sambal tumpang is ready! Serve it with rice or as a standalone dish. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. It might even taste better the next day! Always check for spoilage before eating, leave it in the fridge only a couple of days.

I can recommend serving with the following:

sambal tumpang served

I hope you’ve liked this sambal recipe and if you did, please leave a rating and let me know what you think! Try some of my other sambals as well:

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