Recipe
(from Debbie Teoh, inSing)

Makes 2 large jars.

* Note: I used the recipe as a very rough guide. You don’t have to follow the measurements religiously … just taste test as you go along. For me, I used a ratio of 1:1:1 for groundnuts, tempeh and ikan bilis.

– Oil for frying
– 320g groundnuts with skin
– 1 packet (180g) tempeh, finely sliced
– 100g ikan bilis (anchovies)

Spice paste
– 15 stalks dried chillies, soaked and cut into 3cm lengths
– 10g bird’s eye chillies
– 100g shallots
– 2 cloves garlic
– 2 stalks lemon grass, sliced
– 1 teaspoon belachan or shrimp paste (optional)

If, however, making your own paste turns you off, use any readymade, storebought paste. I like this:


Note: This is not a product endorsement. I just personally like using this brand for days I need to cook in a hurry.

– 60g tamarind paste + 100ml water, sieved to get juice (I used only a small pinch of tamarind paste + about 2 tbsp water … don’t like it too sour)
– 30g palm sugar*
– 45g coarse sugar or to taste*
– Salt to taste (I omitted this … the ikan bilis were salty enough)
– 10 kaffir lime leaves, sliced (I tore them up into rough shreds … you can use less leaves if you wish)
* I omitted sugar in favour of kecap manis. Just 1 tsp to colour and sweeten things up.

1. Heat sufficient oil in a wok and fry the groundnuts. Remove nuts once they are lightly browned and drain them on paper towels. They will turn dark brown as they cool.


All the ingredients, prepared separately.

2. Using the same oil, deep-fry the finely sliced tempeh till lightly browned and drain them on paper towels. Lastly, remove some of the oil, leaving about half a cup in the wok and deep fry the anchovies in batches until crispy. Discard the frying oil.


Crispy fried tempeh.

2. Using an electric blender, finely grind spice paste ingredients. Skip this stage if you are using readymade paste, obviously.

3. Heat oil in a wok over medium heat and sauté the spice paste until fragrant, stirring continuously to prevent paste from burning. If using readymade paste, use about 2 or 3 tbsps, or however much you need to coat the ingredients.

4. Once the spice paste is fragrant and the oil rises*, add the tamarind juice, palm sugar and sugar, and simmer for 1 minute or until spice paste mixture thickens.
* Not necessary if using readymade paste. As long as the paste heats up, you can add the rest of the ingredients.

5. Add in the kaffir lime leaves, fried groundnuts, crispy tempeh and toss to mix, making sure the spice paste is evenly distributed.

6. Lastly, add in the crispy fried anchovies and adjust seasonings to taste. Remove from heat and leave to cool before storing in airtight containers or jars.

(Adapted from http://www.thelittleteochew.com/2011/07/ikan-bilis-with-tempeh-groudnuts.html)

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