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Oseng Tempe with Long Beans
Ingredients
Directions
Ingredients
½ c
olive or other cooking oil
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8 oz
tempeh, cut into 1-by-¼-inch batons
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8 oz
long beans or green beans, sliced into 1-inch pieces
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1
shallot, finely chopped
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3
cloves of garlic, sliced
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2
fresh green chiles, about 3 inches long, sliced
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2
fresh red chiles, about 3 inches long, sliced
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4
makrut lime leaves
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3
salam leaves (Indonesian bay leaf)
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1
1-inch piece of galangal, minced
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3 tbsp
kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
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1 tbsp
oyster sauce
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1
1-inch piece of tamarind pulp dissolved in 2 tablespoons of hot water
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Oseng Tempe with Long Beans

Oseng tempe, also called oseng-oseng tempe, is a sweet-and-spicy stir-fry of tempeh cubes and fresh chiles that’s glazed with kecap manis (sweet Indonesian soy sauce) and oyster sauce. It’s common to add green beans or assorted greens for a nice one-pot meal with rice; the dish provides a great base for clearing old vegetables from the fridge. This version, adapted from Taste of Surabaya owner and chef Fefe Anggono, follows her lead by adding a nugget of tamarind pulp to the sauce for some tangy verve.

For the best flavor and texture, seek out a local producer of fresh, unpasteurized tempeh; the pasteurized tempeh sold in stores has a longer shelf life but also a denser, more uniform texture. Wiwas is my favorite brand of pasteurized tempeh, and it ships nationwide. Frying the tempeh batons is critical to develop the soybeans’ naturally nutty flavor. For the same reason, cut your pieces of tempeh small to maximize their surface area. If galangal and makrut lime leaves are unavailable, you can omit them. If salam leaf (Indonesian bay leaf) is unavailable, Indian bay leaves (they’re actually cinnamon leaves!) are a closer substitute than European or Californian bay.

2-3 servings

  1. Heat oil in a wok or large pan on medium-high until it shimmers and reaches 350°F. Add tempeh and fry to a deep golden brown, then use tongs or a strainer to remove tempeh and let it drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Pour off all but 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil, but keep the extra oil nearby, as you’ll need more in a minute.
  2. Increase heat to high and let the wok heat for a minute, until you see smoke. Then add the long beans and stir-fry until they begin to char and turn tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Once cooked, set the beans aside; they can sit on top of the tempeh.
  3. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of your reserved oil and place over high heat. Add the shallot, garlic, green and red chiles, lime leaves, salam leaves, and galangal, and stir-fry until the shallots begin to soften and everything is fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Add tempeh and long beans back to the wok and stir to combine. Then add the kecap manis, oyster sauce, and dissolved tamarind pulp. Toss the tempeh and green beans so they’re well-coated and cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce has reduced to a thin glaze. Taste for seasoning and add salt if necessary, then remove from heat and serve with rice.

Max Falkowitz

Max Falkowitz is a food and travel writer for The New York Times, Saveur, GQ, New York magazine’s Grub Street, and other outlets. He’s also the coauthor of The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook with Helen You.