8 oz tempeh – (cut into long and narrow strips)
1/2 tsp belacan / shrimp paste – omit for vegan version
1 Tbsp seedless tamarind paste – mixed with 2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp gula jawa/ Indonesian palm sugar – roughly chopped, or you may sub with brown sugar
Salt to taste
Cooking oil – for deep-frying of pan frying
3 shallots – (peeled and thinly sliced)
3 cloves garlic – (peeled and finely minced)
4 Fresno chili – or use 1 Tbsp chili paste
1 tsp galangal powder
1 Roma tomato – quartered
Place all the ground ingredients in a food processor and process into a smooth paste. Set aside. Preheat about 1-inch of oil to deep fry the sliced tempeh in batches if necessary. Deep fry until they are golden brown. Drain on an absorbent paper towel and set aside. Alternatively, you can also put about 1 Tbsp of oil in a large non-stick skillet and pan fry them on 1 layer until they are crispy.
In a large skillet or wok, preheat about 2 Tbsp of oil. Add the ground ingredients and stir fry for 3 minutes. Add tamarind juice and palm sugar. Stir to mix and until the palm sugar is melted. Add the fried tempeh and stir to mix everything to make sure the sambal sauce is coating every piece of the tempeh. Have a taste and season with more salt and sugar as needed. It should be spicy, sweet, and slightly tangy.