This is what a traditional javanese dining table looks like. Fried Tempe, rice (being cut out from the photo), jackfruit Gulai, deep-fried-eels, fried chicken intestines, raw cucumber, and other humble side dishes. Anything you can find in the rice field are fried, boiled or eaten raw. Shortly: a decadent farmer’s meal. Simple, humble but filling.

Why do I need to make this post? Because I need to. Every Indonesian-born women living abroad feels-yes FEELS-like they must be able to create this holy grail of Indonesian cuisine. We eat Tempe regularly and grown to find them everywhere. Living abroad does limits that habits and most of us spends weeks trying to produce them ourselves. Lucky for me, I’ve found the best tasting Tempe one could find outside of Indonesia.

This August I went to summer bazaar in Indonesian Embassy in Helsinki, found one vendor who is selling that tasty Tempe. The name of the vendor was . This company is based in Turku, Finland.  The woman selling them, Mrs. Juwati Alho, was helding a polling about her product and I got to taste her products. Mrs. Alho said that she is selling inside of Finland for now but she will also send abroad if demanded.

The tempe looks like this, with a cover that imitate banana leaf. Banana leaf are commonly used in Indonesia to naturally cover the Tempe while being sold in traditional vendors.

The Tempe was really good that I bought them straight away. What a good decisions that was because her Tempe sold out only few minutes after. Later then I found out that her Tempe are made of organic ingredients and GMO free. Making it perfect for my go-to diet.

I hope the picture are good enough for you to read. They’re in Finnish and this was the only photo I had on my memory drive.

How do I know which is the best Tempe? I was born in Blitar, neighboring city of Malang, the Tempe city of Indonesia. Tempe has always been the main food in Indonesia where good quality meat is almost unaffordable. We enjoy tempe and it’s by products on our daily diet. Indonesians are traditionally biotechnologist, likes to fermenting things to make them taste better and tastier. We’ve been known for fermenting tofu, winged bean seed, peanut, and even coconut oil pressing. Fermented foods stays better and longer in a hotter Indonesian climate.

I used to find Tempe in asian markets around Hakaniemi Market Hall, Helsinki. Usually cost me less than 2 euros for a 400 g tempe with mediocre quality. Now after finding the better tempe, I don’t mind paying an extra price for that. It’s worth it! I can now buy this tempe in Finland at the (online) and supermarkets in Helsinki area.

How does a good Tempe tasted like? Probably like a mushroom-chicken but with a side of bean flavor and mushroomy ( if that even a word. LOL).

A good quality tempe is very similar to this one, where the whole cake are filled tightly with beans. Not only does this tastes best, will also be firm and not too crumbly when we cook it. This is the one from

Best way to cook this kind of Tempe is simply marinating, fried then served with warm cooked rice. According to DR. Agranoff, when Tempe is eaten with rice, it delivers just as many nutritions as meat but with higher digestibility. Fried Tempe tasted best when it’s warm, therefore let’s get cooking!

Fried Tempe

Ingredients :

  • 200 grams Tempe, cut into thin slices.
  • 2 dl sunflower oil

Marination ingredients are :

  • 1 clove Garlic, 1 tablespoon coriander, 1 dl plain water and 1 teaspoon salt . Grind all together.

How to cook :

  1. Put the sliced Tempe in the marination and let it be for at least 15 minutes, longer if you want the spicier flavor.
  2. Use non-stick pan to fry. Turn on the stove and put the sunflower oil. Let the oil heat in medium high.
  3. Fry the Tempe, several at a times. Fry each sides for approx. 3 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. It will looks like this photo :

    Good tempe doesn’t need much spices because the tempe itself tasted really good, clean, and almost sweet.

  4. That’s it, Fried Tempe is ready to be served with warm cooked rice.

What did I do before finding that good quality Tempe, you ask. Well, there are ways to cook Tempe which quality is just “so-so”. One of them are by deep frying in batter like this photo :

Tempe Mendoan is other version of a fried Tempe, plain tempe fried with spices and flour batter.

Tempe Mendoan is a fried tempe with a crispy outer batter but leaves the insides part a little gooey. For this kind of tempe, I’m using plenty of spices to make them tastier. Besides coriander, garlic, chopped spring onion and vegetable stock; I used turmeric and a pinch of white pepper in the batter. This recipe will be perfect if you create a thin batter like pancakes batter ( 1 part liquid and 1 dry ingredients). As you can see, the real taste of that Tempe are disguised in spices ;). We eat them with a thick and spicy soybean dark sauce or Sambal Kecap Pedas.

Tempe Goreng Tepung or the regular fried tempe in batter as my brothers preference, on the other hand, is a more crispier version of Tempe Mendoan. We use mix of starch and wheat flour for the batter, skipping the spring onion. Crispy Tempe looks like this photo I grabbed from my Instagram account:

Crispy Tempe! Everybody’s favourite! The green thingy in middle? That’s a raw rawit chillies. Gives the tempe a strong kick. It’s optional.

To get this kind of crisp, you have to cut the tempe slightly thinner and keep the batter runnier. A medium amount of oil will create a harder shell as we fry. For a better result, make the batter from 2 part of liquid and 1 part of dry ingredients.

Summary :

Who - JK Alho or

What - Indonesian Tempe made in Finland

Why - Tasted & formed most similar to a real tempe sold in Malang, Indonesia

Where - Crafted by an Indonesian woman living in Turku, Finland

When - Distributed to selected Finnish local supermarket in Finland since 2016 and growing

How - Using European Union organic and non-GMO soybeans with a confidential type of Tempe starter owned by Mrs. Juwati Alho herself


References :

  4. Interview with Mrs. Juwati Alho, owner of JK Alho/ via head-to-head meeting and online.



I was not provided with a free product in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinion express herein are my own and not influenced by the developing company, and/ or it’s affiliates, in any way.