Tempeh & Sambal Granola

Tempeh granola in momma's hands

So I had this granola recipe from awhile back. Despite my claims to use it to “provide my own granola for the family”, I haven’t had the time nor enthusiasm to keep this promise. Sorry fam, but we deplete our granola supply faster than corrupt politicians on our country’s budget; it’s real tough to keep it up.

Sure, I could buy a pack of granola and sneakily refill the granola containers with it, pretending I did all the hard work when I just paid way more than I should’ve on something I could’ve totally made a better version of myself. And just for the sake of sticking with the metaphor here: it’s like how our politicians keep reassuring us that everything is fine and dandy and all of the taxpayers’ money is being invested back into the people, when behind the scenes it’s all being siphoned away to god-knows-where while we’re all stuck with less than we deserve, and oh btw the country (Malaysia) is currently RM675+ billion in debt.

Nope, I’d rather not stoop so low, thank you very much.

(Disclaimer: Okay I don’t actually know much about politics, I just thought it was an interesting passive-aggressive parallel to draw. Heh. :P)

Fortunately enough though, my mom, being the saint that she is, read my granola recipe and tried her hand at making it, and now consistently replenishes the granola supply, ritualistically roasting off two full trays every fortnight! What a legend. Not only does she do that, she riffs on it each time she makes it too. One week it was crispy goji berries in the mix, another it was a gula Melaka + coconut oil variant. And in true motherly fashion, hers always turn out tasting way better than mine. (Amazin’graze granola, watch out.)

Tempeh granola prep

Some weeks ago, she made a savoury tempeh + sambal granola, which was so good I had to beg her to do it again just so I could write about it. (Thanks mom.)

If you’re unfamiliar with tempeh, it’s a fermented soybean packed into a cake/terrine-like form, often wrapped with banana leaves. It’s a bit funky and furry, and is apparently real good for your health (as most fermented things are supposed to be). It’s deep-fried form works surprisingly well in a granola, but unless you dig savoury, spicy milk, this granola variant doesn’t really work in a breakfast-milk-in-bowl situation. It’s so damn good as a savoury snack though. A funky, addictive, spicy-till-you-sweat-but-oh-god-I-can't-stop kind of savoury snack. It’s basically a Malaysian trail mix. But spicy. And on crack. GLHF.

Tempeh granola prep
Tempeh granola

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Tempeh & Sambal Granola


300g granola, home-made or storebought. Refer here for a solid granola recipe
300g tempeh
50g dried sambal, or adjust according to your taste
a handful of curry leaves, ~10g
30g dried coconut flesh/flakes, optional
30g brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 pinch of black pepper


  1. Cut the tempeh into thin slices (~0.5cm thickness), and deep-fry in a neutral oil at ~180°C, until they turn a shade darker than golden brown. This should take around 3 minutes. Drain and pat dry to remove the excess oil.
  2. In the same frying oil, fry the curry leaves for roughly 10 seconds until crispy and fragrant.
  3. Put the brown sugar in a large frying pan, then heat on medium until the sugar melts. Add the sambal to the melted sugar and stir fry until fragrant. Then add the granola, deep-fried tempeh, coconut flesh and salt, and stir fry for a minute or two just to get them to come together.
  4. Finally, throw in the crispy curry leaves and give it a quick mix.
  5. Empty out onto a large tray and cool to room temperature.
  6. Snack it like it’s crack.