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Thai-style Tempeh Cakes with Chili-lime Dressing + (Vegan) Potluck Tips

By 09:53 , ,

I made these for the vegan potluck on Sunday! ^^ I guess this is the vegan version of Thai fish cakes..? 

Bought a whole lot of tempeh HAHA. The cashier & packer were shocked!! The packer didn't know what it was (she thought it was curry powder or something) until mum told her lol. I didn't actually need this many (they don't show the weight and I suck at weighing things with my hands -_- ) but it's okay because it freezes well. Each packet is S$0.50 and the tempeh weighs about 100g (2 pieces of 50g each) - I think it's a good size for one portion. 

I got these at Vivo's Giant, near the weighing section where there's the parsley and spring onion. Nearly cleared out the basket oops :x

I tested the recipe out for dinner the night before the potluck. This is made with 2.5 packets (250g) of tempeh. My parents generally liked it but felt that it needed more oil. Hahaha typical

It looks like there's quite a lot of ingredients but don't fret! You can swap out or omit ingredients and customise it to your liking.

Did you know that genetics determine whether you like Chinese parsley (coriander) or not? To some it tastes wonderful but to others it's soapy and repulsive. (Wow I remember this from doing a school report!) Interesting. I used to hate it when I was a child though. Then my dad kept on buying it (to use for dinner on the weekend) and leaving the rest of the bunch in the fridge to rot. And because I don't like wasting food, I finish it for him. And tada!! After a few weeks it was bearable and after a few months I liked it (and still do). I must be genetically inclined to like it but I was a picky kid that didn't like greens haha.

Oh and my grandparents have said that you like it when you become 美 ('wishing to appear beautiful'). Makes completely no sense LOL.

It's a really simple recipe because all you need to do is to throw everything in your food processor before pan-frying it!

There's peanut flour in this but you can replace it with oat flour (rolled oats pulsed in food processor), gluten-free all purpose flour or even plain flour. Ugh should've checked if anyone has peanut allergies before using peanut flour!

Based on the texture you want, you can pulse the mix a few times or blend it until it's completely smooth. I left it slightly chunky for more variations in texture. 

This recipe is inspired by a recipe in a Singapore Chinese cuisine cookbook (I can't remember the exact name). The original recipe used egg, so I thought of adding a flax 'egg' to this (1 tbsp flaxseed meal + 3 tbsp hot water) as the binder. But I found that there wasn't a need! Somehow the mixture holds very well together and yet doesn't stick annoyingly to your hands! 

Also, the original recipe adds lemongrass into the food processor. o_o I didn't trust my food processor to make it fine enough so I just used lemongrass-infused water... which was probably hardly even detectable.

 Just shape the mixture using your hands and start pan-frying!

I omitted spring onion in part of the tempeh cakes to cater to the Buddhist vegans. I shaped the cakes into circles and squares and made those signs (the sticks are lemongrass haha) to differentiate between those with spring onion and those without. (Then I realised that it made no sense that the round one is labelled 'with garlic' because there isn't any LOL. So I cancelled 'garlic' away.)

I made 11 square ones (out of 250g tempeh) and about 24 round ones (out of 400-500g tempeh). 
So here's the recipe:

Thai-style Tempeh Cakes with Chili-lime Dressing

Tempeh Cakes
  • 1 bunch spring onion (if omitting, add more parsley/ lime juice)
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 2 red chilies, de-seeded
  • 1 inch piece ginger
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh calamansi lime juice (about 4-7 limes)
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar (regular sugar is fine too)
  • 1 tbsp peanut flour (or replace with ground peanuts, oat flour or regular flour)
  • 1-2 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 2 tsp Bragg's liquid aminos/soy sauce

  • about 250g fresh tempeh, rinsed
  • about 1/4 cup water
  • black pepper and salt to taste (I added a whole lot of cracked black pepper and 4 cracks of black sea salt)
  • oil-spray/oil
Chili-lime Dressing
  • juice of 2-3 calamansi limes
  • 3 tbsp lemon-grass infused water (chopped lemongrass + boiling water)
  • 1 tbsp coconut vinegar (or rice vinegar)
  • 1-2 tsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp Bragg's liquid aminos
  • chili & lemongrass slices

  1. Add the first 9 ingredients to a food processor (a blender might work too) and process until ingredients are finely chopped. Add in 50g tempeh if your processor is too big for such a small amount of ingredients.
  2. Roughly break up remaining tempeh pieces and add to the food processor. Process until almost your desired consistency. Add water, 1 tbsp at a time, if required. 
  3. Taste the batter (you won't die). Add pepper and salt if required and pulse a few times to mix.
  4. Spray a non-stick pan generously with oil spray, or use your regular cooking oil. Turn on the fire. Shape the batter into rounds or squares and place it onto the pan. Leave about a 1 inch space between the pieces for easier flipping.
  5. Filp it over when one side is done. (I have no idea how many minutes per side because I just kept on flipping them haha!) It should be firmer and brown but not too charred.
  6. Remove from heat and cool. The tempeh cakes will become more yellow and dark coloured, and slightly drier.
  7. For the chili-lime dressing, mix all ingredients together. Dip tempeh cakes into dressing and enjoy!

(Vegan) Potluck Tips
Some random potluck tips I've learnt! ^^ Haha these are my personal opinion only, and I've not held a potluck before so these are just from a potlucker's (?) point of view:

  1. If you're using a new recipe, it's best to try it out at least once before the potluck - sometimes winging it just doesn't work!!
  2. You'll still probably take longer than you'd expected to cook and get ready. So start early!
  3. Label your food so that people know what they're piling onto their plate! If it comes with a dip, make sure it's noticeable.
  4. If you can't cook, fruit skewers, cut fruits or fruit/veggie juices are great options. I always end up feeling super thirsty after a potluck, and juicy fruits and drinks provide a much welcomed respite. (wow using more chiem phrases) 
  5. If you're horrible with directions and map reading, and going alone, make sure your phone is charged so you can Google Maps yourself there. Such a lifesaver.
  6. Bring a camera! Instagram your food and make non-vegans wish they were there. LOL
  7. Make lotsa friends! Vegan friends are hard to find T.T
  8. Check with other potluck-goers about what food they're bringing so you don't clash.
  9. Also, check if any potluck-goers have allergies or don't eat onion/garlic.
  10. Eat a lot, talk a lot (not doing the latter very well hahaha) and have lotsa fun!!

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  1. Made something like this before but it was baked! Not even a little oil hahaha What would your parents say!