Aah…for the simple pleasures in life! There are some dishes that seem so homespun and yet when you encounter them in a buffet spread, everyone makes a bee-line for it. This Malay condiment is often found at “rice stalls” during lunch time. It goes very well with rice and curry but is also very good when taken on its own.

The main ingredients are crispy ikan bilis or anchovies and roasted peanuts mixed in a sweet spicy coating. This is relatively dry dish, almost like spiced nuts as the coating is thick and sticky. Sometimes fried cubed potatoes or tempeh is added to bulk it up.

Tempeh is made from slightly cooked and fermented soy beans which are formed into cakes. Sometimes grains like barley and wild rice are added to it. Unlike tofu, tempeh has a firm texture and a nutty flavor. It is flavorful on its own and can be simply pan fried and eaten. High in proteins, tempeh makes a wonderful substitute for meat. It can be found in the refrigerated section of most health food stores.

I do enjoy tempeh and buy it every now and then. Here are the other recipes using tempeh. Please click on the picture to get to the recipe.

The anchovies, peanuts, and tempeh are all cooked separately. The sauce is then prepared and all cooked ingredients are mixed and coated with the sauce. In Malaysia, most people will either grind their own chili paste or use Chili Boh. Over here, a good substitute is the Korean chili paste, gochujang.

Spicy Anchovies, Peanuts, and Tempeh

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Spicy Anchovies, Peanuts, and Tempeh


  • 1 cup (50g) dried ikan bilis (anchovies)
  • ½ cup (80g) raw shelled peanuts
  • 8 oz (225g) tempeh cut into 1½”x1”x¼” pieces
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp gochujang (chili paste)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Salt


Rinse and drain ikan bilis. Use paper towels to pat dry.

Roast peanuts in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 12 to 15 minutes until lightly brown. Remove and set aside.

Heat a tablespoon of canola oil in a non-stick fry pan over medium heat. Place tempeh in a single layer and fry each side for about 4 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add another tablespoon of canola oil. Fry ikan bilis for about 5 to 6 minutes until golden brown. Remove and set aside.

In the same pan, add the remaining tablespoon of canola oil. Cook gochujang for about a minute. Stir in sugar, vinegar, water, and salt. Add ikan bilis, peanuts, and tempeh. Stir to get everything well mixed.

Remove and serve warm or at room temperature.


This condiment is usually served at room temperature and is delicious paired with sayur lodeh or Labu Lodeh.

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Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 8)