Reconnect with Food by Sofia Imany

by 6 April 20221 comment

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ

In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Reconnect with Food by Sofia Imany

Learn how our food creator from Indonesia whips up delectable savoury suhoor and sweet iftar this Ramadan.



  • 250 gram tempeh, small cubes or rectangular
  • 3 red chillies, sliced
  • 2 green chillies, sliced
  • 2 centimeter galangal, bruised
  • 2 centimeter ginger, bruised
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 shallots, finely slice
  • 3 garlics, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 2 teaspoon tamarind paste, diluted with water
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • Small amount of water
  • Cooking oil to fry the tempeh


  • Fry the tempeh until it changes colour, or you can use an air fryer and set it aside
  • Sauté shallots and garlic until fragrant and transparent. Add bay leaf, galangal, ginger and all the chillies, and sauté for a few minutes.
  • Add a little bit of water and the other ingredients (sweet soy sauce, tamarind water, sugar and salt).
  • Add in the fried tempeh and toss to combine. Cook for a few more minutes until the tempeh blended well with the spices. Check the taste. The taste should have a balance of sweet and savoury with a slight sour tinge.
  • Top with chopped spring onion or chives.


This dish is best served with steamy white rice and a fried egg. Rich in fibre and protein to help you sustain throughout the day. Enjoy!



Sweet potato balls 

  • 270 gram sweet potato 
  • 90 gram tapioca flour 
  • A pinch of salt 

Palm sugar syrup 

  • 300 gram palm sugar 
  • 1250 milliliter/gram water 
  • 5 pieces pandan leaves 
  • Tapioca slurry 


Coconut milk sauce

  • 150 gram coconut cream 
  • 75 gram water 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 3 – 4 pieces pandan leaves 

Sweet potato balls:

  • Cut the sweet potatoes into large cubes and place them in a steamer and steam for about 15 – 20 minutes over high heat until fork-tender.
  • Drain off some water after steaming, if any.  
  • Mash the sweet potatoes while still warm until smooth.
  • Sprinkle in the salt and tapioca starch and knead the dough with your hand until you can get a smooth dough.  
  • If it feels a bit dry, you can add a bit of warm water, however, if it is too wet, add a bit more tapioca flour.  
  • Roll the dough into balls about 2 inches in size. 

Sugar syrup: 

  • Pour in 1200 milliliter of water to a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Then add in sugar, pinch of salt and pandan leaves.  
  • Lower the heat to let it gently simmer for 15 minutes and keep it warm on very low heat while you are preparing the rest.

Coconut sauce

  • In another small saucepan, add in the coconut cream, water, salt and pandan leaves. Leave it on low heat for about 15 minutes. Do not boil the coconut cream. Turn off the heat and set it aside.

Biji salak and the syrup

  • Add the sweet potato balls to the syrup, bring it to a gentle boil and cook until the sweet potato balls float to the top.  
  • Pour the tapioca slurry while stirring until the syrup thickens and get shiny and start to bubble.  
  • Remove from the heat.


This dessert can be served warm or cold. Ladle some sweet potato balls along with the thickened syrup into a serving bowl and drizzle with a generous amount of coconut cream sauce and enjoy!

About The Author

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