Food Plant

sweet soy sauce noodles
November 20, 2007, 5:01 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

it all startd with a recipe titled Tahu Goreng, which i assume stands for fried tofu. it was featured in bryanna clark grogan’s excellent newsletter, and consisted of fried tofu, edamame beans and onions in indonesian sweet soy sauce over rice. i tried it just slightly modified at first, with peas instead of edamame and noodles for rice, as seen here:

first variation, still using the original sauce, with thin fried tofu and peas

noodles, first round

it was my first time using kecap manis, the thick indonesian sweet soy sauce, and i was instantly a fan. i liked the original sauce used in the recipe but wanted to add a bit more of a kick. i was also too lazy to separately fry the tofu, and so the vegeful tempeh noodle dish was born.

do not feel obligated to stick with the particular vegetables, tempeh or noodles i used, but keep in mind that you may have to adjust your methods and cooking times. if you can’t find kecap manis or worry about the possible use of bone char filtering in the bottled stuff, there are several recipes available online, and in a pinch i’m sure that a 1:1 mixture of fancy molasses and dark soy sauce would do the trick.

you will need a large pan or wok as well as a medium sauce pot (if you plan to use a vegetable that needs blanching, start by boiling some water in the pot . otherwise you can wait, since it’ll only be used for the noodles.)


  • oil, such as peanut
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cup chopped onion (it’s about 1 large onion)
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or chopped
  • 1 package ready to eat tempeh (i use “indonesian flavour”. if your tempeh requires steaming, do that first.)
  • large handful almonds, slivered or sliced, or cashew pieces.
  • 1 large orange pepper, in strips (carrot rings may be subbed)
  • 1/2 large head of broccoli, or 1 small/medium
  • sauce, recipe below
  • 200 gram brown rice or wheat noodles (about 4 servings)
  • 2 thinly sliced spring onions, or 2 sliced, fried-til-crispy shallots (optional, for garnish)

sweet soy sauce sauce…

  • 1/3 cup kecap manis
  • 1/4 cup braggs (or low sodium soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons concentrated tomato paste
  • 1.5 teaspoon asian hot sauce, such as sriracha, chili garlic sauce, or any hot sauce made in indonesia
  • 2-3 tablespoons water (this is optional, and added later to the pan itself in case the sauce disappears on you.)

begin by heating the oil at medium-low heat and add the onions. saute them, stirring occasionally until they get soft. reduce the heat to low, add the garlic and continue to cook for a couple of minutes. (if you’re planning to boil some vegetables, the water in the pot should be just about boiling at this point.)

add the sliced tempeh and almonds to the pan and increase the heat to medium-high. stir-fry for a minute or two, then reduce the heat to low/medium-low again. at this point you can take the time to blend the sauce ingredients together (just make sure nothing in the pan is burning.)

the broccoli should go in the boiling water, if it hadn’t already. it’ll receive additional cooking in the pan, so should still be quite firm when drained from the water. as soon as the pot is emptied (into a colander, say,) refill it with water and return to the heat.

add the bell peppers to the pan and stir frequently. you want the peppers lightly charred and softened, but the onions shouldn’t go black in the process. fine balance! add the sauce, it’ll be pleasantly noisy. reduce the heat to minimum if the sauce appears to be evaporating quickly.

add the broccoli (or quick cooking vegetables, such as frozen peas or julienned carrots) to the pan and mix it with the sauce and other ingredients.

cook the noodles to al dante; this may take a minute for vermicelli or about 5 for thicker ones. drain and add them to the pan, tossing well with the rest of the ingredients (without splashing all over the stove top.)

if the sauce is still very thin, increase the heat and stir fry until it reduces and slightly thickens. if the sauce appears to be gone, add the 2-3 tablespoons of water, turn the heat off and stir.

check for salt and spiciness, adjust if necessay and stir once more.

when serving, top with chopped spring onions or fried shallots. the leftovers are great cold as well.

second shot: adapted sauce, brown rice vermicelli, broccoli and orange pepper, tempeh and forgotten almonds

here’s a bonus: an already vegan recipe i found on a site that sells kecap manis. it links to yet another vegan recipe, for “festive yellow rice.” yum!

chow mein noodles again, sliced almonds, adapted sauce and red pepper (i prefer the orange kind in this but they were old.)


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