Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Tempe tantrums

The birth of this new blog brought to mind something that has been fermenting in my archives for some time now. Tempe. I am not a big fan of tempe, which to some extent goes to explain the sad state of my complexion. In fact the first time I found some mouldy pieces in the fridge, I threw them away thinking that they had gone bad. But being newly-wed and all that I was forgiven by my husband who is really fanatical, if there is ever a word, about tempe. He loves them so much that he made it into a business!

Like everything else that he did, for example bread, croissant and chicken kiev, a lot of research went into it. Once when I was craving for keropok, he rolled up his sleeves and attacked the mackerels and other ingredients to make the keropok, only for it to turn out as keropok lekor. He had better success with tempe.

He got himself a how to do tempe book and ordered the yeast from somewhere. From then on, we invested in stainless steel pots and ladels, plastic bags and of course bags and bags of soya bean. The recipe in one hand, he stayed up all night to boil the soya beans and dry them the next morning. This is certainly a summer time job. Without the sun, it’d be impossible. He even used the hair dryer.

I didn’t have a hand in the tempe making at all as he was quite meticulous and strict about all sorts of things.

Anyway, once the yeast was mixed with the beans, he’d fill them up in small plastic bags and I was assigned the role of making small holes in the plastic bags.

Then, we’d leave them overnight in the boiler room. It was quite fascinating watching them turn into tempe. We’d check the soya bean in the plastic bags at intervals . White cotton like thingy would appear covering the beans and later when fully ripe, they would have some black patches around it. And they’d feel quite warm to the touch.

I never knew what to do with it. My husband would just cut them in small pieces, marinade them with salt and tumeric and then fry them and had them as snacks, munching in front of the tv. Later, I learnt that fried tempe tastes quite good in sambal tumis.

We then had the problem of having too much tempe in a household of only
one tempe lover. So we gave them to friends. The word spread around that there’s an awang from Terengganu making tempe in a corner of London. So we began receiving orders from the Malay and Indonesian community. Some orders came from the embassies! It was growing into quite a roaring business with the tempe fermenting quietly in our small boiler room until I had to go into hospital to deliver my second child.

Orders were coming in faster then he could deliver so, I had to cut short my hospital stay and help with HIS delivery. We had friends delivering the orders to houses and offices. We had BMW’s parked way down the street as people came to take the orders, and one quietly whispered in my ears, “ Please don’t write in the newspaper that a diplomat’s wife is distributing tempe!” Er, whaaaaat?????

“Shock, horror, drama!! Diplomats wife in sleazy tempe trade!!! “ Screamed the headlines that came to mind.

Anyway, the so called diplomat’s wife need not worry, our success also spelt our downfall. We couldn’t cope and we closed shop! But I’ll never forget those tempe making days in our small living room in a corner of London!


Atok said...

the only tempe i like was Tempe Asuka.

u shud set up a stall during Notting Hill Carnival, sure laku sakan. and fly in the new blogger as a model.

MA said...

I love tempe.

Cook sambal goreng style, one of the must have for Raya.

Tell AG to have a talk with Body Shop for a Tempe revolution in the cosmetic industry.


Kak Teh said...

atok, good idea! We can have a big banner of him, and also to have him endorsed the produk! and get people to inspect him closely! hahaha!

MA, i have yet to acquire the taste. I dont mind it , but am not too crazy abt it. Yes, Body Shop is the next stop!

Rockybru said...

Kak Teh,
Interesting that you point to Dr KT's blog. Look at the number of comments he's been getting. Two postings and about 1000 comments!
Tempe power!

Kak Teh said...

rocky, hahaha! not that he needed my help to get comments! Tempe rules!!
I needed a topic to update my blog and he gave me the inspiration.

jaflam said...

Kak Teh, my new maid from Seberang fried Tempe every day and the kids are enjoying the Tempe too.

Well done AG Tempe London .... name branding.

melayudilondon said...

oooo tempe panas laku!
kalau mak goreng kat dapur, tak sempat nak hidang. dah kena cekau awal-awal

Hidup AG! Hidup tempe!

Unknown said...

Kak Teh,
I am a no big tempe fancy, but should you set up a company there, I am pretty sure we'll have the first 'jutawan tempe'. At this point, everyone would like to be on the headline :D

Kak Teh said...

jafflam, may be we shd start our business again and you can order from us. and semoga kita awet muda sentiasa!

melayu london yang sekarang ada di singapura: wah, now you can have everything you want except for my mee bandung and mee thai sing!

akmal, jutawan tempe! That is so funny. But not impossible, kan?

D said...

Kak Teh, me want tempe lorrr!!! Droool,droooool... Can AG make some, and we'll make our way to your place to buy them. HAHA! Would certainly be a trip worthwhile (of course meeting you & AG is more than worth it - hehehe...).

[danial][ma] said...

hej! Kak teh...what a yummy entry! I luv tempeh and sure will be your sole dustributor for northeast England :)

Salt N Turmeric said...

Kak Teh, luckily u mentioned tht uv tutup kedai or else id order and ask to be delivered to california. lol.

i love tempe. be it fried with sambal ikan bilis or sambal kicap.


Kak Teh said...

D, if we are still in business, we can have tempe parties and you can be our agent in the midlands! of course we can have our regular agent meetings laaa!

Danial ma, ye, you too can be our agent in the northeast. or we can have mlm for tempe!!!

salt & tumeric,i am just getting used to it. here, tempe is easily available now. the last tie i went home, the way my sister cooked it was delicious - very fine and crispy!

Anonymous said...

"Shock, horror, drama!! Diplomats wife in sleazy tempe trade!!!"

Laughed so hard at this my colleagues are staring at me funny. I wish our national dailies had headlines like these... our lives will far more light-hearted. :)

Anonymous said...

Donno what happen to my comments yesterday. 2 kali post, dua2 kali hang. ANyway i liked this entry. Hehehe.

About the entry below it's quite sad isn't it. Dekat sini pon ada keluar dekat paper jugak. Moga Allah tunjukkan jalan yang benar..


silversarina said...

Only me who eats tempe, my hubby and kids don't . Last raya my SIL brought a big packet of tempe snack from Sungai Besar , very crispy and yummy , a product of the village industry ....or is it from KT's industry????

"Kak Teh Tempe " not KT Tempe.... sure laris di pasaran....hehehehe.

MrsNordin said...

Don't they sell tempe in London??

But respect lah your husband, boleh buat tempe DIY style. He must be a very patient man... :)

Unknown said...

wow! tempe in london. i'm a tempe lover event though i'm not jawarian hehe.

i should say that u r lucky hv a husband who is willing to DIY the tempe and even the keropok!

elisataufik said...

kak teh... arrghhhhhh you got me drooling!!!
*wipes wet keyboard*

I hope DrKT knows what he's getting into.

Kak Teh said...

Kenny, : Waving her Gucci bag at me, the dip's wife for that is what we shall call her, warned that the entire diplomatic circle would be put to shame if people know that they are distributing tempe during their morning coffees in the exclusive and leafy surburbs of london. Without further ado, she pursed her overglossed, and collagen filled lips, and tucked several packets of tempe under her LV leather belt. Safely hidden under her oversized Burberry jacket, she mada a dash into the waiting Mercs, fearing that people would see her in an area with an adddress that is a far cry from smart Belgravia. I was left reeling from the over powering smell of her cheap perfume and puking sambal tempe all over my second hand carpet bought from the carboot sale.

Kak Teh said...

arena, kadang2 blogspot buat hal.
ya memang kesian sufiah. I ma worried that now she has gone into hiding.

Silversarina, Kak Teh Tempe sounds good! endorsed by the other Dr KT!!!

mrs nordin, dulu jarang nampak tempe, tapi sekarang dah banyak. but my husband memang suka experiment benda2 macam ni.

Kak Teh said...

halogamora, welcome to my blog. I think if tempe makes KT looks years younger, i shd start taking them seriosuly now.

elisa, you like tempe too? suruh yr papa hantar - yang siap dibuat sambal.

Anonymous said...


Part Two of the Shocking! Horrifying! Sleazy! Tempe Saga is indeed satisfying... Now, is there Part Three?

Greedy Reader Kenny

Anonymous said...

a newbie here!!!

Ish....It looks tasty laa!!
Hard to find laa around shah alam...
Wooohoo.. Love Tempe!!!
Tempe Life...

Ordinary Superhero said...

The Dr's blog reminded you of Tempe? :) How thoughtful.

Kak Teh said...

kenny, part three coming sooon!!!! wait for it.

onhisshoulder,tempe tak ada di shah alam? oh dear... perhaps in Gombak?

OSH, ya lah, didnt he say that he didnt do botox to look younger but ate lots of tempe. I think we shd revive our business.

Kak Teh said...

Kenny: Shock, horror sleazy tempe saga Part 3.

Sitting back comfortably in her brand new Mercs with the diplomatic registration number plate, she felt a warm glow emanating from the middle of her ample torso. She caught herself in the side mirror and saw her face growing pink.She is still too young to be experiencing hot flushes, she thought. It couldnt be the early stages of menopause!!! She banished the thought immediately.

She ordered the driver to switch on the air condition but even with the air con full blast, she was still sweating, the perspiration staining her brand new Zara blouse she bought at the sales.

Arriving at a prestigious address of a London surburb to meet her friends, she felt relieved to be out in the cool summer afternoon.
After the muah, muah and how are you darlings, she fumbled clumsily to release her LV leather belt from around her more than ample waist.

It was then that the source of the heat; packets and packets of over-riped tempe fell rather unceremoniously like nangka masak around her feet.

The dip wife, who had feared her part in the sleazy tempe trade would be exposed to all and sundry, had unwittingly played a part in contributing to the final stages in the making of a perfect tempe!

A story of such nature would certainly register an 8.3 on the richter scale of the Dip Wives Glam magazine.

ms hart said...

Aaah Kak Teh!! Sungguh tak kusangka cempedak PUN BOLEH JADI nangka!!! ha ha ha...Awang Goneng pung boleh jadi WAK Goneng?!! Wooo...salute, salute!! Tempe made in London! Phooohh!! he he he...

Kak Teh said...

ms harts, i love the name wak goneng! better than awang...hahaha!

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh,
You always have something amusing to tell, thats why I look forward to reading your blog (and Wak Goneng's).
As to the tempe eating person whose face changed overnight, I have this to say: how come our (my friends and I) maids' complexion remain the same inspite of us spending a fortune on tempe during the duration of their service with us?
Love you Kak Teh,

Kak Teh said...

NanaDJ, its been a while since I last saw you here. It takes a tempe to lure you to my humble blog. Thank you for kind words. Tempe temptation?

wonda said...

I have not tried tempe but looks like nattou to me, except perhaps it is not so smelly?

Unknown said...

Akak...my life marvels around tempe ni kak...dulu arwah nenek buat tempe and sold it around kampung...then one day I asked her turunkan ilmu nek...you know what she said? Huh? Kau tu panas baran mana boleh buat tempe nanti sume tak menjadi! Since then never she mentioned about turunkan her ilmu...not to anyone of us...langsung! She took it with her when she passed away. I missed her, hand of course her tempe. Al-Fatihah.

Tempe tu if campur dlm kuah lodeh pun umphhh kak... I used to have a colleague complaining as everyday I ordered tempe as one of the lauk pauk for lunch. Dia kata kampong lah...jawa sgt lah...but my love for tempe goes beyond everything...lantaklah orang nak kata apa...bila hati sudah suka...lalalalala

Sorry akak. Saya merapu. salam to AG.

LifeBloom said...

K Teh

Your Tempe tales had me in stitches - my mind went into overdrive visualising you and AG as Tempe Tycoons...haha.

Necessity is the mother of invention. My hankering for satay during my uni days in London had me cucuk-ing satay in the wee hours of the morning...something I never envision I would ever do...we cooked like a 1000 satays for Raya...

I really love tempe - my indonesian maid turned me into an absolute fan. We made everything out of it - battered, fried, masak kicap, gulai lemak - u name it...best fried and battered - kalah ayam goreng!

Kak Teh said...

wonda, i dont know how nattou looks like. tempe doesnt mell it just doesnt look good. it is good when it looks bad enough to throw away, if you know what i mean.

radin, amboi, awat tak belajar buat tempe. Indeed it is true that you have to be oatient to make tempe. so many different stages, so meticulous with everything. baik beli kat kedai lah!

lifebloom, welcome back. ke manakah dikau menghilang??? yes, abt merapu - kak teh was in that frame of mind too much stress re: sufiah's story. I need some tempe to clear my mind.

KakNi said...

Kak Teh, saya memang tak suka makan masakan yang ada tempe, pada saya rasanya tu pelik TAPI kalau kerepek tempe tu boleh pulak saya makan, heran betul.

Kak Teh, saya ni Cikni la.. sekarang dah tukar url baru - kularilari.blogspot.com

Kak Teh said...

laaaaaa Cikni, pi mana lama tak nampak?? Nanti kak teh tukar yr url di sentraal station okay? Keep well.

Anonymous said...

I have never tried tempe (I don't think).

What is tempe? I now wonder if I have eaten them and not know what it's called. :)

Theta said...

I warmed up quite late to tempe. In fact, only after I got married in late 2004.

It didn't matter that it was a compulsory ingredient for Sambal Goreng for raya, I'd always avoid taking it by picking and choosing which tiny pieces to eat. :P

I think I was brought up to think that tempe induces high blood pressure and other unsightly ailments.

On the other hand, my husband's family is a habitual tempe eater. Now I eat it like nobody's business.

p.s. since you guys folded, where in London can people get tempe nowadays? :)

Typhoon Sue said...

ah, tempe - the secret to dr. khir toyo's shiny forehead

not particularly a fan of tempe, but i do like it when it's garing.

love the diplomat wife's story... *LOL*

Pak Tuo said...

Salam Kak Teh and family,

Story link


Mogok Tempeh

entah apa mogok lagi dah......

aku nak makan pun tak senang.

Me ...'Power Roots Tongkat Ali'

Cerita Maggie Mee tak de ke Kak Teh


'....in bukan cubaan....tapi betul-betul.....

LifeBloom said...

Salam KT

Aku masih di sini - love your new chocolatey blog. Just to let you know I have enabled the limited access option to my blog due to security reasons...KT boleh bagi e-mail tak so that I cam e-mail invitation to u?? Thanks Tempe Queen...hehe..Don't marah nanti kena jual... ;-)

Mama Rock said...

aaahhhh rupa-rupanya pak mat tempe in the seniman bujang lapok movie tu kat london ya :)

Kak Teh said...

Judy, tempe is one of those foodstuff - nothing much to look heavenly - but tastes heavenly - so says the tempe fans. Google my dear, google.

theta, so you are a tempe convert. I can live without it, i think. But i suppose if we get the right person to cook it the right way, am sure i will enjoy it. Its nutritious too.

sue, if only i can continue and not offend. Will test the water someday.

Kak Teh said...

Pak Tuo, cerita maggie masa zaman ITM ada banyak.sebab that was our main diet.

mama rock, ya mat tempe di kota london. imagine nanti dapat Her majesty's stamp of approval!

Pak Tuo said...

Dearest Kak Teh

Jes a quest.
Me and a couple of old buddies plan to walk the memory lane in London possibility Bank Hols August.
Kelab Melayu di Walthamstore masih active lagike? and the 'Pak Chik2 sailor dikelab tu masih ade lagike??
I could only recall only afew.
Aunty Rock antara lain.
Yes uncle Aman dan Majid has pass away.
We dok discuss,how we wish to organise a small gathering at the club cum Majlis bacaa Tahlil.
Is there still a kitchen at the club.There was one before.
We decided to tong-tong among us for the majlis.
Could you help Kak Teh pleased?

Will keep you posted on the plan.

Salam pada family and Pak Teh

Anonymous said...

KT said... "I had to cut short my hospital stay and help with HIS delivery."


pushing tempe! ;D

you're sublime.

Kak Teh said...

Pak Tuo,
Kelab melayu di cricketfield road masih ada. last time i visited them was during raya - masak makan di situ., masihada kitchen and surau. Pak lah is the secretary kut - ada dua tiga lagi old sailors. Do let me know bila nak datng.

mekyam, hehe! push, push, push! I bet his was easier and painless.

Anonymous said...

wah nih dah bagus, boleh jual dan hantar ke Paris ka?


Kak Teh said...

alina, kita hantar fedex!! :)

HCI said...

Kak Teh!!!!

He he he, lama tak kesini. Ada tempe rupanya. Did you try to search for tempe in internet, banyak keluar cerita fasal universiti, kononnya tempe tu nama tempat.

I ada soalan nak tanya. Sekarang dah jadi trend orang buat tempe guna plastik. Tak ke meresap bahan2 dalam plastik tu ke tempe, sebab tempe ni hidup dan temperature suam-suam.

Tempe in dah jadi world class top three superfood. He he he. So tolong tanya OG fasal tempe in plastic tu, kalau boleh tolong gi jawab kat blog saya.

Thank kayu.

Kak Teh said...

has, i know. when i first googled tempe - memang keluar nama tempat!
as for the use of plastic - YES!!!! he has a lot to say about it now. When we were kaing the tempe before, itu jaman jahiliah. Sekarang ni nasi himpit pun tak boleh lagi masak all in the bag! will certainly ask him to pay you a visit. Take care.

ZABS said...

Salam Kak Teh,
Maaf lambat sampai ke sini. Banyak menyibuk kat tempat lain.
Bukan Mat Jawa je yang boleh buat tmpe rupaye, Awe Ganu lagi terror rupanya. Kalau kat Malaysia mungkin boleh buat lagi berjya agaknya.

Tapi Kak Teh tak perlukan tempe untuk jaga complexion, macam blogger baru tu, dah semulajadi.

Saya walaupun separuh jawa, tak jadikan tempe favorite pun. Lebih suka makan rempeyeksemasa menonton tv.
Isteri saya (Melayu sejati)pula yang suka tempe, dan semakin menyukainya sejak di warwarkan oleh blogger baru tu, bagus untuk kulit muka. Hehehee..

5xmom.com said...

Kak Teh!!
Since I read about tempe, I had gone on tempe bingeing spree. I even got a post tempe awet muda as botox replacement which appears when they look for a certain person. Hahaha.

Kak Teh said...

zabs, kak teh pun suka rempeyek. Ya, kalau makan semasa menonton tv memang mengasyikkan. Malangnya susah juga nak cari rempeyek di sini. I think I must drop hints suruh my husband buatkan.

Lilian, thanks for dropping by. You have been busy reporting on the elections, eh!
You dont need tempe or botox! I have met you so i know!

ikanbilis said...

i love rempeyek but i never like tempe. perhaps you should tell AG to sell more Malaysian food on an organized cultural event, and that would be more fun! =)

Kak Teh said...

ikanbilis, actually, we have a malaysian carnival once a year - after merdeke celebration. and on this day, ada yang jual keropok lekor, dan macam2. One year we sold karipap, sardine rolls and mee bandung. tak teringat pulak nak jual tempe!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kak Teh,

Do you know if I can get any of A Samad Said's books (especially Warkah Dari Eropah) in London? Would apreciate if you could give any suggestions.

BTW, I managed to get GUIT from Stanfords...glad that it's being sold in a London bookstore.



Kak Teh said...

hz, kak teh tak tahu mengenai warkah dari eropah - tapi mengenai buku lain, can you please email me?
Warkahdari eropah tu dah lama...may be out of print.
GUiT di Stanfords pun dah habis, I was told.

Argus Lou said...

Hi, Kak Teh. Chuckled at your blog post title: Tempe tantrums!

Sorry this is off-topic, but would you have a Puteri Berendam recipe by any chance? If yes, could you kindly share it with me?
Now that I'm living outside M'sia, I would like to learn to make kuih and desserts that I loved while living there and introduce them to non-M'sian friends.

Anonymous said...

I went through the same..I threw tempe given by a friend which were flew all the way from Malaysia thinking that they had gone bad. When this dear friend asked, I sheepishly said I had eaten them all!


Roti Kacang Merah said...

aiyoh lama tak datang, dah tukar kaler chocalicious? yummm.

anyhoos, Kak Teh... FINALLY i managed to grab your Wak Goneng's, err, Awang Goneng's book yesterday at One Utama!

Tak buka lagi plastiknya.... sayang! haha

My husband tanya, dah beli buku dia pulak tak? *grinssss*

Kak Teh said...

argus, I will certainly find out. It is one of those east coast sweets, right?

aireen, aaah, so I am not alone! Before the incident I had never seen or heard of tempe, only to be introduced to the 'delicay' in London.

rkm, aaah, i will certainly ask my sister to bring the book for me as she is heading this way next month.
Enjoy GUiT but what a pity we didnt meet up masa i balik dulu. Insyaallah next time.

chinta said...

asm kak teh,

dah lama sy jenguk blog kak teh dan plg suka this entry...sbb saya suka sgt tempeh!! tak kesah la tempeh goreng ke, sambal tempeh ke, masak lodeh ke, asal lauk masakan jawa mmg suka...sbb syg mmg jawa!

disebabkan entry nie jugak laa sy carik resepi tempeh dan perlukan tempeh stater...tatau nak dpt kat mana tuh..so, tak terai nak buat..

my mom dtg sini mesti bawakkan tempeh...lepas kempunan juga..

ok slamat bercuti ke geneva..


Anonymous said...

I'm living in London, and am craving for tempe, google for tempe in London and found this page! Do you still make them. or do you know where i can get tempe at all here?? pls.. pls.. nak nak! :)

Kak Teh said...

chinta, aaah, lagi sorang peminat tempe...ramai sungguh. Rasanya kak teh in the minority.

anin, salam dan maaf. Th etempe making busines was just a fun thing a longtime ago. I think you can get tempeh at the chinese supermarkets in Chinatown or at Tawana - in chepstow road - london. ALl the best.

madamchocolat said...

You can definitely buy it in London http://www.eastwestoriental.com/products/?s=tempe&x=0&y=0
or make your own -http://www.tempeh.info/fermentation/fermentation.php

madamchocolat said...

You can definitely buy it in London http://www.eastwestoriental.com/products/?s=tempe&x=0&y=0
or make your own -http://www.tempeh.info/fermentation/fermentation.php