Sambal Petai with Tempeh

Sambal Petai with Tempeh


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About this recipe: Petai beans are definitely something of an acquired taste...and smell (just like the King of Southeast Asian fruits called Durian). Highly popular in Southeast Asia, the beans are contained in long, flat green pods with bulging bumps in the shape of small almonds. Petai has a really peculiar smell that is dispelled through the urine (so, make sure the flush works!). As such, it is also nicknamed as 'stinky beans'. Petai is said to contain 3 types of natural sugar - sucrose, fructose and glucose. It is also believed to be carrying many beneficial medicinal values from regulating blood pressure to curing a hangover with a glass of petai milkshake (err, anyone up to this challenge?!).

petitenyonya Melaka, Malaysia


  • 100 g shallots
  • 20 g dried chillies (soak in boiling hot water for 15 mins)
  • 1 inch belacan (Asian shrimp paste)
  • 2-3 kaffir lime leaves (optional)
  • 5-7 tbsp oil
  • 5-6 tbsp tamarind paste juice or 3-4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 100 g prawns, deshelled
  • 3-4 pods of petai beans, skinned and split
  • 1-2 pieces tempeh, fried till golden brown and slice
  • 30 g ikan bilis (baby anchovies), deep-fried with oil till golden brown & drained on paper towel


  1. Ground shallots, chillies, belacan and kaffir lime leaves together into a paste.
  2. Heat 5-7 tbsp oil in a wok/frying pan. When it's hot, put in the grounded sambal paste and saute till the paste emanates a fragrant smell and somewhat drier than before.
  3. Pour in the tamarind/lemon juice, sugar and salt. You can add some water if you prefer a slightly wetter sambal.
  4. Put in the prawns, petai and tempeh all together. Stir and cook for 3-5 mins.
  5. Turn off the fire, leave the sambal to cool for about 10 mins, then mix in the fried anchovies.
  6. Stir well and serve with plain rice, coconut milk rice (nasi lemak) or bread.

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