Bagor Tempeh Laksa - Laksa Tempe Bogor

The people of West Java were never ones to waste food, and this Bogor laksa is traditionally prepared with grilled oncom, a beautiful orange fermented soy product from this region. Visiting my uncle in Bogor was always a treat, a time to enjoy this laksa with combro, a fried snack made with grated cassava, oncom, chillies and basil.


This laksa is often prepared with chicken, but I’ve opted to use tempeh to keep this dish strictly vegetarian. The broth, beautifully golden from turmeric, lemongrass and lime leaves, is equally fortifying and delicious.

This recipe was extracted from 'The Indonesian Table' by Petty Elliott (published by Phaidon Press)

MORE: Try Petty's Mixed Salad with Spicy and Tangy Peanut Sauce (Gado Gado) or Indonesian spice pastes. And read her exclusive Q&A with Sous Chef on what makes Indonesian food so exciting.

For the spice blend Serves: 4

For the laksa

  • Salt, to taste
  • 250 g/9 oz tempeh, cut into 1-cm/½-inch-thick slices
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or vegetable oil
  • ½ quantity Yellow Spice Paste (see linked article)
  • 3 green cardamom pods, slightly crushed
  • 4 makrut lime leaves, torn
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, crushed and tied into a knot
  • 600 ml/20 fl oz (2½ cups) coconut milk
  • 1–2 tablespoons coconut sugar (optional)
  • 200 g/7 oz dried rice noodles
  • Handful of basil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Boiled Sambal (page 53), to serve

For the toppings

Bagor Tempeh Laksa Method

  1. To make the spice blend, dry-roast the spices in a small frying pan over medium heat for 4–5 minutes. Leave to cool slightly. Transfer to a pestle and mortar and grind to a fine powder. Set aside.
  2. For the laksa, put ½ teaspoon of the spice blend into a medium bowl.
  3. Add 100 ml/3½ fl oz (scant ½ cup) of water and ½ teaspoon salt and mix well. Add the tempeh, stir to coat and marinate for 10 minutes.
  4. Heat a griddle pan over high heat. Working in batches, add the tempeh and grill for 2–3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate.
  5. Repeat with the remaining tempeh, then cut into 1-cm/½-inch cubes.
  6. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the yellow spice paste and sauté for 4 minutes. Add the remaining spice blend, cardamom and half of the tempeh. Mix well and cook for 1 minute.
  7. Add the lime leaves and lemongrass. Pour in the coconut milk and 300 ml/10 fl oz (1¼ cups) of water. Season with coconut sugar, if using, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, put the eggs into a small saucepan of water. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Drain, then transfer to a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process. When cool enough to handle, peel the eggs and halve them.
  9. Prepare the dried noodles according to the package directions. Drain, then transfer to a bowl of cold water. Drain again, then set aside.
  10. Discard the lime leaves. Add half of the basil and the lime juice to the broth and cook for 1 minute. Season to taste.
  11. Divide the noodles into 4 bowls. Ladle 2–3 spoons of hot broth into each bowl. Top with eggs, grilled tempeh, bean sprouts, crispy shallots and the remaining basil. Serve with boiled sambal.
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  • Jakarta Laksa (Laksa Betawi)

This laksa has a deep and rich umami flavour. Add 1 teaspoon shrimp paste and 2 additional large red chillies to the paste. To your spice blend, add 1 teaspoon dried shrimp. Replace the tempeh with 100 g/3½ oz firm tofu (cut into 1-cm/½-inch cubes), 100 g/3½ oz shelled prawns and 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, thinly sliced. Add the chicken and tofu to the broth and cook for 10 minutes. Add the prawn and cook for another 2–3 minutes. Omit the bean sprouts topping and add melinjo crackers (optional).

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