26 August 2014

Balinese Tempeh Satay Bowl

It has taken me a while, but as promised I am returning with another recipe inspired from our time in Bali. Nasi Campur is a popular Indonesian meal. Translated as "mixed rice", this is an Indonesian tapas plate of rice and several smaller portioned side dishes and sauces. The mix of tapas chosen can vary by region, but the Nasi Campur we had consisted of steamed red rice, tofu satay, tempeh with peanuts in a sweet and sour sauce, sautéed greens with grated coconut, corn fritters, and sambal oelek (a spicy tomato-based sauce). There were so many distinctly superb flavors and textures and they all managed to go together in perfect harmony.

My humble re-creation of this at home is a simplified version that gives a nod to the satay and tempeh in a sweet and sour sauce. And, as many of our dinners at home go, this ended up as a bowl meal, with the satay sauce and sauteed tempeh layered over steamed broccoli and brown rice.

If you make the satay sauce in advance you will have this meal ready in the time it takes the rice to cook. The order went like this: The satay sauce was coming to room temperature while other components were being prepared. While the rice cooked I gave the tempeh a quick sauté and deglazed with a sweet and sour sauce. Then broccoli was added on top of the rice to steam for the final 5 minutes of cooking time. This was all plated together in a bowl with extra lime and sambal oelek passed at the table. 

On a separate note, I have an exciting announcement to share with you! I have partnered with Cooksnaps, a photo sharing platform specifically for food blogs, that will allow you to post photos of my recipes you make at home right here on the blog. As a blogger, a highlight for me is interacting with all of you. I love to hear your thoughts, ideas, and questions, and now getting to see how the recipes work for you at home is an added bonus. 

You will find the Cooksnaps widget on each post below the comments section. You simply upload your photo through the widget, and I and other readers can see what your finished product looks like. Check out the pictures shared by Felice, a co-founder of Cooksnaps, for the skillet cherry cobbler, no-cook oatmeal, and lime tamari noodles.

Balinese Tempeh Satay Bowl
Serves 3-4

Steamed Broccoli and Rice
Tempeh in Sweet and Sour Sauce
Satay Sauce
Optional Garnishes: lime wedges, sambal oelek (or siracha)

To serve, place a mound of rice in a bowl and add broccoli, tempeh, and satay sauce on and around the rice. Serve with lime wedges and/or sambal oelek.

Steamed Broccoli and Rice
1 1/2 cups brown rice (preferably soaked overnight, rinsed and drained)
1 medium head broccoli

Cook rice according to package directions with a big pinch salt. Chop broccoli florets and stem into bite side pieces. When rice has 5 minutes remaining, add broccoli to pot, recover with lid and let everything finish cooking together.

Tempeh in Sweet and Sour Sauce
Knob coconut oil
1 package (~200 gr) tempeh
1/2 red onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1" piece ginger, minced
1 red chili, minced
1/4 tsp. turmeric (optional - I like the color it gives)
3 Tbsp. tamari
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
Juice 1/2 lime
1 tsp. honey

Heat coconut oil in medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cut tempeh log in half lengthwise, then into half-moon slices (or cut in similar size/shape if your tempeh comes in a block form).

Once oil is hot add onion, garlic, ginger, chili, and turmeric. Cook until beginning to soften (1-2 minutes). Add tempeh to pan in one layer, making sure all pieces are laying flat in the pan. Let cook for a few minutes, until tempeh begins to get some color. Flip tempeh pieces and cook for another couple of minutes.

In the meantime make the sauce. Whisk together remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Once tempeh begins to brown on the second side, turn heat down to low and add sauce to the pan. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pan (that is flavor!). Once sauce has thickened and reduced slightly remove pan from heat.

Satay Sauce
Adapted from The Mindful Foodie

Notes: This sauce can be made ahead of time. Remove from fridge while preparing other ingredients so it comes to room temperature. Otherwise, if you make this at the same time as the other components, make this first and use a medium sauté pan so it can be reused for the tempeh. No need to wash the pan in between.

¾ cup (110 gr) raw peanuts (or cashews)
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
½ red onion, finely diced
thumb-sized knob (20 gr) ginger, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red chili, finely chopped
½ tsp. turmeric powder
1 Tbsp. tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
¾ cup (180 ml) water
juice of ½ a lime, or to taste

Preheat oven to 170°C/340°F
Line a baking tray with baking paper, and roast peanuts for 8–12 minutes unlit lightly browned. (Skip this step if your nuts were pre-roasted). Remove and allow to cool.

In the meantime, heat the coconut oil in a small frying pan, and sauté the onion, ginger, chili, garlic and turmeric over low heat for approximately 5 minutes, until the onions have lightly caramelized.

Add the roasted peanuts, sautéed mixture, and tamari to a food processor. Pulse a few times to breakdown the nuts. Then add water and blend on high speed until smooth. Or blend for less time if you'd like to keep it chunkier. Add the lime juice, taste and adjust seasoning with tamari and more lime juice if needed.


  1. Rice bowls with lots of delicious ingredients are one of my favorite things to make these days! I seem to always have a some cooked brown rice on hand that I can just quickly heat up and add other things to. I love all the flavors in this satay bowl! It will for sure be going on my need-to-make list!

    1. Thanks Izzy! I love having extra rice or another grain on hand to make quick bowls too. This would be a great, fast meal to make when you have leftover rice and vegetables. Let me know if you try it out! Or maybe snap a quick photo to share through the Cooksnaps widget below. ;-)

  2. I loooove nasi campur! That and gado gado are my favorite Indonesian dishes, such great flavours and textures :) I am definitely going to have to recreate this at home, thank you for sharing your version of it Katie :)

    1. Haha, I figured you liked nasi campu. ;-) And do let me know what you think if you make this at home!

  3. It's great that you have these kinds of tapas plates. Having the option to choose bewteen lots of snacks is always amazing :D



    1. I love having options one dinner plate. Thanks for stopping by, Elisa!

  4. Rice bowls are one of my all time favourite things to eat! It's so delicious to tuck into and the flavours can be so varied! Love it!

    {Teffy's Perks} X

    1. Thank you Teffy! Rice bowls are a staple around here too but they never get old because the combinations of toppings and sauces are endless.

  5. Craving for satay!!!


  6. I have never had an Balinese cuisine, but it looks incredible! I will have to try this.


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