Tag Archives: Sweet

Purple Sweet Potato Rose Steamed Buns Recipe

How can anyone resist freshly steamed Chinese steamed buns, let alone one shaped in rose, and come in light purple and bordering pinkish hue? After saving so many of these recipes for a long long while in my Pinterest board, I finally took the plunge and make these babies. Verdict: taste really good, soft fluffy texture, and most importantly, cannot suppress the smile as I bite into the soft fluffy purple/pink rose buns.

Preparing the dough for purple steamed buns.

Steps to create rose shaped mantou (steamed buns)

It takes slightly more steps than you regular steamed buns because:

  1. You need to steam purple sweet potato and mash,
  2. You need to prepare the steamed buns dough, and finally
  3. You need to shape them into roses, which took me 3-4 times longer than regular round steamed buns.

So time yourself accordingly. Having said that, it is not actually that hard to make these, so let me guide you along the way.

How to make rose shape steamed buns.

How to make rose shape steamed buns.

Prepare the purple sweet potato dough

First, steam some purple sweet potato. While your sweet potato is being steamed, you can prepare other ingredients.

My next step is to mix warm water with yeast and sugar and let it sit until frothy and foamy.

Then, I weigh all my dry ingredients (cake flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) and place them in a mixing bowl. And don’t forget to weigh your unsalted butter too (you can use shortening too).

Once everything is ready, take out sweet potato from steamer and mash with a fork.

Make a well in the dry ingredients, add mashed sweet potato, and yeast solution. Knead into a smooth dough. Add unsalted butter to the dough, and knead until dough is not oily. At the end, it should be smooth, soft, and elastic.

Place in an oiled bowl, cover with wet kitchen towel/saran plastic, and proof until doubled, about 1 hour.

Purple Sweet Potato Rose Steamed Buns. Just shaped and prior to proofing.

Purple Sweet Potato Rose Steamed Buns. Just shaped and prior to proofing.

How to create rose shape mantou (steamed buns)

Once it has finished proofing, punch the dough to release air bubbles, and knead for 2 minutes. Make 15 gram dough balls. You will need 6×15 gram dough balls to make 2 roses.

For a detailed instructions on how to shape the rose, please refer to my step-by-step photo.

My dough yields 36×15 gram dough balls, which give me a total of 12 roses!

Place each rose in a cup cake liner. Once you are done shaping the roses, let the dough proof again for 45 minutes.

Purple Sweet Potato Rose Steamed Buns. After proofing.

Purple Sweet Potato Rose Steamed Buns. After proofing.

How to steam mantou (steamed buns)

My steamer is only one tier, and I can only steam 6 roses at a time. I chose to steam the first six that I shaped first since they have become bigger compared to the later 6. That way, in the end, all of my roses ended with roughly the same size. If you have a multi-tier steamer, you can wait until all buns have fully expanded before steaming everything in one go.

The buns actually expand slightly after steaming, so don’t crowd them too much. Also, I think the color becomes slightly lighter compared to pre-steamed color. If pre-steamed is more purple, I think after steaming, it is more pink, but look pretty regardless 😉 Taste wise, it doesn’t differ too much from your regular mantou (Chinese steamed buns), but the shape and the color definitely make these special.

Purple Sweet Potato Rose Steamed Buns

Purple Sweet Potato Rose Steamed Buns

How to store leftover steamed buns

As with other steamed buns, you can freeze any leftovers once they are steamed. To reheat, simply steam again from frozen state. Alternatively, you can place frozen buns in a plate, cover with a wet paper towel, and microwave until soft and fluffy again. Your choice.

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Okara Pork Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe

Today I have another great okara recipe for those who make their own soy milk at home, okara pork meatballs with sweet and sour sauce. Okara is the soy bean pulp leftover from making soy milk. Though very high in nutrients, okara is sadly considered a waste. And that is just too sad, isn’t it? So, let’s not throw away those soy bean pulp the next time you make some soy milk.

Okara Pork Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Sauce

To prepare the meatball mixture, mix together okara, ground pork, scallion, corn starch, and egg. Then season with soy sauce, oyster sauce, sake, and ground pepper. Since the water content of each okara batch will be slightly different, add only as much corn starch as needed to easily shape the meatballs. I use about 2 tablespoon of mixture per meatball, and I also dust each meatball with some corn starch.

Ingredients for Okara Pork Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Sauce

Ingredients for Okara Pork Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Sauce

To cook the meatballs, you can choose to either pan fry or deep fry. I choose the panfrying option since it means I end up using only one frying pan for both cooking the meatballs and the sauce to make my life easier.

Okara Pork Meatballs

Okara Pork Meatballs

Finally, it is time to prepare the sauce. In the same frying pan, add some oil and fry garlic and ginger until fragrant. Add chicken stock, tomato ketchup, rice vinegar, oyster sauce, sugar, and sesame oil, and continue cooking until the sauce boils. Give it a quick test to see if you need to add salt, then thicken the sauce with corn starch slurry. Once the sauce is thick, return the meatballs into the pan to coat with sauce. I like to serve the meatballs immediately with some toasted scallions and nanami togarashi (or toasted sesame seeds).

Okara Pork Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Sauce

Okara Pork Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Sauce

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Easy Spicy Sweet and Sour Fried Chicken Recipe

Want a recipe for an easy spicy sweet and sour fried chicken? There are a million ways to prepare sweet and sour sauce, but I think I have found a super-easy way if your home is regularly stocked with Thai sweet chili sauce, tomato ketchup, and soy sauce. The sauce comes together in minutes, and if you want an even faster dish, use thinly sliced chicken strips instead of fried chicken strips. 🙂

Easy Spicy Sweet and Sour Fried Chicken

How do I prepare the fried chicken strips?

I won’t dispute that you can make this dish with thinly sliced chicken, but trust me, make the bite-size fried chicken strips. They are not difficult, and are good enough to eat on their own!

The fried chicken strips will need:

  • 600 gram chicken strips, from chicken breast/thigh
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt

First, marinate the chicken strips with bruised garlic cloves, lime juice, and salt for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together the batter, and you will need:

  • 100 gram all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon tapioca starch, or cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

Coat the chicken with all the batter mix. Then heat enough oil in a pot for deep frying. And once the oil is hot, fry the chicken strips until golden brown.

Next, we’ll make the easy sweet and sour sauce to go with the fried chicken strips.

Easy Spicy Sweet and Sour Fried Chicken

Easy Spicy Sweet and Sour Fried Chicken

What goes into this spicy sweet and sour sauce?

This easy spicy sweet and sour sauce needs only simple ingredients.

For the aromatics:

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 50 gram shallots, thinly sliced

For the vegetables:

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 fresh pineapple, bite sizes

For the sauce, I come up with this super easy combination from:

  • 1/2 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup tomato ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • salt and pepper, as needed.

Different brands of sauces have different salt levels, so be sure to taste first before adding more salt and pepper.

And finally, to get that thick luscious sauce and garnish, we will need:

  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch + 1 tablespoon water, to make cornstarch slurry
  • thinly sliced scallions
Easy Spicy Sweet and Sour Fried Chicken

Easy Spicy Sweet and Sour Fried Chicken

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Terong Kecap Pedas – Spicy Sweet Soy Sauce Eggplant Recipe

Eggplant is a very mild and bland vegetable, so I like to pair it with bold tasting sauce like Indonesian kecap manis and plenty of chilies. If you haven’t gotten to try Indonesian kecap manis, you are really missing out. Do yourself a favor and get one bottle already. Once you do, give this terong kecap pedas – spicy sweet soy sauce eggplant recipe a try.

Terong Kecap Pedas – Spicy Sweet Soy Sauce Eggplant

Which eggplant?

Typically, Indonesian use the thin lanky Chinese eggplant regularly available in Chinese grocery store. But if your home is far from any Asian grocery, you can use standard American eggplant too. In fact, I am using American eggplant in this very photo shoot 🙂 They are pretty interchangeable, so no need to worry.

Terong Kecap Pedas - Spicy Sweet Soy Sauce Eggplant

Terong Kecap Pedas – Spicy Sweet Soy Sauce Eggplant

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Brown Butter Honey Sweet Potato Bread Recipe

Fall is when my kitchen is stocked with sweet potatoes and all sort of squashes, and I have a very delicious sweet potato bread recipe for you today. If you have some sweet potato at home, you must give this brown butter honey sweet potato bread a try. Forgive the literal name of this bread, it is quite a mouthful I admit, but I guarantee you and everyone you serve will enjoy every single bite of this bread.

Brown Butter Honey Sweet Potato Bread.

Mashed/pureed sweet potato

Start by making a batch of mashed/pureed sweet potato. For this recipe, even one sweet potato should yield more than enough puree for one batch of this recipe.

After making this bread for a while, I think my average is 1 sweet potato = 2 batches of this bread.

If you are making this for a family/friend gathering, you may very well need to prepare two batches anyway since everyone will want a second serving! If you want a shortcut, you can also use canned sweet potato puree. 😀

Brown Butter Honey Sweet Potato Bread.

Brown Butter Honey Sweet Potato Bread.

Plain vs. sweet red bean paste filling

Maybe because I am Asian, I am very fond of sweet red bean paste. I have this crazy unexplainable tick to always stock my fridge with some red bean paste.

If sweet red bean paste is not your favorite food, feel free to omit. This bread is still super lovely and super yummy even when plain!

If you are like me, then you can either make ahead some sweet red bean paste, or just buy some koshi-an.

Brown Butter Honey Sweet Potato Bread.

Brown Butter Honey Sweet Potato Bread.

Brown butter

The last key ingredient for this bread is the brown butter.

No you cannot buy brown butter in the grocery. You need to make this at home, and it is a very simple process.

Basically you heat some unsalted butter in a small sauce pot on medium (or low-medium) heat until it turns into golden toffee brown color.

This extremely easy step transforms regular butter into brown butter, which tastes amazing compared to regular butter.

Of course, using brown butter will make your bread extra special, perfect for all those special occasions where you will want to serve this bread.

Brown Butter Honey Sweet Potato Bread.

Brown Butter Honey Sweet Potato Bread.

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Bubur Ketan Hitam – Glutinous Black Rice Sweet Porridge Recipe

Bubur Ketan Hitam – Glutinous Black Rice Sweet Porridge

Bubur ketan hitam, also known as bubur pulut hitam or bubur injun, is a popular Indonesian sweet porridge from black glutinous rice (or black sticky rice), palm sugar, scented with pandan leaves, and eaten with thick coconut milk.

This simple dessert is not only popular in Indonesia, but also throughout most other Southeast Asian and East Asian countries. Like most Asian dessert, bubur ketan hitam also happens to be gluten-free and vegan friendly.

Bubur Ketan Hitam - Glutinous Black Rice Sweet Porridge

Bubur Ketan Hitam – Glutinous Black Rice Sweet Porridge

Black glutinous rice

The main ingredient for this dessert is the black glutinous rice, or black sticky rice.

Almost any Asian grocery store should carry this, most likely in the rice section, and possibly just next to the white sticky rice (sometimes also known as sweet rice).

Since black glutinous rice takes quite a bit of time to cook, we usually soak it for at least 4 hours, preferrably overnight, to shorten the cooking time. I usually wash and rinse them before I go to bed and soak in cold water overnight, then cook the rice the following day.

Bubur Ketan Hitam - Glutinous Black Rice Sweet Porridge

Bubur Ketan Hitam – Glutinous Black Rice Sweet Porridge

Pandan leaves

I understand that sometimes it can be hard to procure weird ingredients, like pandan leaves. And although you may be tempted to skip it since we only use 2 leaves for the whole recipe, I highly suggest you hunt down said leaves for this recipe.

Sure black glutinous rice is very fragrant on its own, but pandan leaves is our version of vanilla, and your bubur ketan hitam will definitely be different if you don’t cook it with some pandan leaves.

In most Asian grocery stores that I have frequented over the years, and over many cities throughout United States, they are usually in the freezer alongside frozen banana leaves.

Bubur Ketan Hitam - Glutinous Black Rice Sweet Porridge

Bubur Ketan Hitam – Glutinous Black Rice Sweet Porridge

Coconut milk/coconut cream

Coconut milk and bubur ketan hitam just goes hand in hand. For those of us who grow up eating bubur ketan hitam for breakfast (and tea time, or even for supper), bubur ketan hitam is just not complete without a big dollop of thick coconut milk.

If you can find coconut cream instead of coconut milk, even better!

In my photos, I added toasted sesame seeds, and slices of toasted almond. These are not common, but I have to say, the sesame seeds and the almond slices give an extra nuttiness edge to the already nutty bubur ketan hitam. But if you have nuts allergy, definitely don’t add them.

As is, the basic combination of bubur ketan hitam plus coconut milk/cream is already super delicious.

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Pan-Fried Fish with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe

When you are busy but crave for an easy pan-fried fish with a simple sweet and sour sauce, look no further than this recipe for pan-fried fish with Thai sweet chili sauce.

It should take no more than 30 minutes from start to finish to prepare this dish, including pan frying some fish fillet, and preparing the delicious sauce.

If you are like me, you will want to make this sauce again and again and pair it with just about anything.

Ingredients for Pan-Fried Fish with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

Which fish fillet to use

To prepare pan-fried fish fillet, you can use any kind of fish with white firm flesh.

The cheapest and most widely available fish fillet is tilapia. For a slightly more expansive choice, you can try swai or rock fish.

For a more all out fine dining experience, or when you are feeling fancy, you can also use red snapper, cod, or halibut.

Depending on the fish fillet thickness, the pan frying time may differ slightly. Just to be clear, the cooking time in the recipe has been tested on tilapia, swai, and rock fish.

Pan-Fried Fish with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

Pan-Fried Fish with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

What you need to prepare Thai sweet chili sauce

To make Thai sweet chili sauce, you will need the following ingredients:

Along with garlic, onion, tomato, salt, and sugar. This sauce is similar to sweet and sour sauce, but with a spicy kick. I think this version of sweet and sour sauce is also so much easier to prepare compared to traditional sweet and sour sauce.

Like any good sweet and sour sauce, if you happen to like this sauce, feel free to use it with chicken, pork, or even tofu.

Pan-Fried Fish with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

Pan-Fried Fish with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

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Cheng Teng – Longan and Snow Fungus Sweet Soup Recipe

Cheng Teng (清汤) – Longan and Snow Fungus Sweet Soup

Longan and snow fungus sweet soup is a very basic but very delicious Chinese sweet soup. This sweet soup can be served hot when the weather is biting cold, and it is also amazingly refreshing served chilled during hot summer days.

Cheng Teng (清汤) is what we call this soup in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. My version is very simple with minimal ingredients, but you can always add more Chinese herbs to make this into a deluxe version.

Incidentally, this dessert soup is vegan friendly, and gluten-free. Also, all the dried fruits used in the soup lend enough sweetness, and most of the time I don’t even add any more sugar to this soup, talk about healthy!

Ingredients for Longan and Snow Fungus Sweet Soup

Ingredients for Longan and Snow Fungus Sweet Soup

What you need to prepare longan and snow fungus sweet soup

Here are what I use to prepare a batch of longan and snow fungus sweet soup:

  • 1 dried snow fungus (白木耳 – bai mu er)
  • 80-100 gram dried longan (桂圆肉 – gui yuan rou), using more means sweeter soup
  • 8-12 dried red dates (红枣 – hong zao), I tend to use 12 since more red dates means sweeter soup
  • 25 gram dried lotus seeds (莲子 – lian zi), this is totally optional, but I love a bit of contrast in texture the lotus seeds provide against all the other ingredients

What if I want a sweeter soup

I treat this sweet soup as healthy dessert, and as such, I try to steer clear from adding unnecessary ingredients, even sugar. But if you find the soup lacks sweetness, you can try adding rock sugar or palm sugar.

A better alternative though, is to add even more ingredients to the soup which add natural sweetness, such as peach gum, monk fruit/luo han guo, candied winter melon, and dried persimmon. If you choose this alternative, simply add them with the rest of the ingredients when boiling the soup.

Longan and Snow Fungus Sweet Soup

Longan and Snow Fungus Sweet Soup

Optional add-on ingredients for a deluxe version of Cheng Teng

There are other ingredients you can add to make your Cheng Teng more complete. Some popular choices include:

  • job’s tears/pearl barley (薏米 – yi mi)
  • malva nuts (胖⼤海 – pang da hai)
  • ginkgo nuts (白果 – bai guo)
  • sago/tapioca pearls
  • pandan leaves

How to prepare Chinese longan and snow fungus dessert soup.

Cut off small pieces from the snow fungus with a scissor. Discard the yellow tough center.

Place the snow fungus, longan, lotus seeds, jujube fruits, and water in a soup pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the snow fungus is soft, about 1 1/2 hour to 2 hours.

Test for the level of sweetness and only add rock sugar/palm sugar if needed. Stir until the sugar is fully dissolved.

Turn off heat. Serve warm or chilled.

Cheng Teng (清汤) - Longan and Snow Fungus Sweet Soup

Cheng Teng (清汤) – Longan and Snow Fungus Sweet Soup

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Semur Ayam – Chicken in Nutmeg and Sweet Soy Sauce Recipe

Semur ayam is a chicken and potato dish stewed in spices, nutmeg, and kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce). The taste is very bold, the chicken and potatoes tender and succulent, and you will want to mop up all the sauce with a big bowl of steamed white rice. This delicious dish is very easy to prepare and you will want to put this in your meal rotation! ♥

Ingredients to Prepare Indonesian Semur Ayam (Chicken in Nutmeg and Sweet Soy Sauce).

What you need to prepare Indonesian semur ayam

Most Indonesians will prefer to use bone-in chicken pieces to prepare semur ayam, but boneless skinless meat can also be used for a fuss-free experience. Aside from chicken, you will need the following to prepare Indonesian semur ayam:

  • lemongrass, bruised and knotted, or cut one into 2
  • potatoes
  • kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
  • ground nutmeg
  • shallot
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • salt
  • sugar
  • pepper
Indonesian Semur Ayam - Chicken in Nutmeg and Sweet Soy Sauce.

Indonesian Semur Ayam – Chicken in Nutmeg and Sweet Soy Sauce.

How to cook Indonesian semur ayam

Cooking semur ayam is very easy and straightforward, consisting of only two steps:

  1. Heat oil in a pot and fry spice paste (ground shallot, garlic, and ginger) and lemongrass until fragrant, then add chicken pieces and stir until chicken is no longer pink.
  2. Add potatoes, water, kecap manis, salt, sugar, nutmeg, and pepper to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until both the chicken pieces and potatoes are tender.

That’s it! And you can serve them as is, or with some sprinkling of deep fried shallot flakes (a.k.a. Indonesian bawang goreng). Serve semur ayam with some steamed white rice for a satisfying meal.

Indonesian Semur Ayam - Chicken in Nutmeg and Sweet Soy Sauce.

Indonesian Semur Ayam – Chicken in Nutmeg and Sweet Soy Sauce.

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Kering Tempeh – Fried Tempeh with Sweet and Spicy Glace Recipe

Kering Tempeh – Fried Tempeh with Sweet and Spicy Glace

If you visit a Javanese restaurant, you will probably see kering tempeh among the many side dishes that you can order. Some places sell these in jars or packaged plastic bags, a great thing to stock at home since a couple of spoonful of this can perk up your humble steamed rice.

With this recipe, you can recreate said kering tempeh in your home. (Read: no need to smuggle some packages of kering tempeh anymore whenever you visit Indonesia! :D)

If you like having nasi uduk for breakfast, I highly recommend a side dish of kering tempeh and telur dadar gulung. ♥

Ingredients to prepare kering tempeh: tempeh, tamarind, garlic, shallot, galangal, fresno chlies, kaffir lime leaves, palm sugar, salt, and coriander.

Ingredients to prepare kering tempeh: tempeh, tamarind, garlic, shallot, galangal, fresno chlies, kaffir lime leaves, palm sugar, salt, and coriander.

Learn how to make homemade tempeh

Back when I was still in college, which was … err … a while ago, tempeh is not something you can buy in the US. Nowadays, it is more common to see tempeh in grocery stores, though not as widespread as I would like.

I still love making my own tempeh at home, and if you are feeling adventurous, you can try making your own homemade tempeh with my homemade tempeh recipe.

If you do buy your tempeh from grocery stores, please choose the ones made from soybeans as those are what we use in Indonesia.

What you need to prepare kering tempeh

Aside from tempeh, you will need the following ingredients to prepare kering tempeh: palm sugar, tamarind, red chilies, shallots, garlic, kaffir lime leaves, Indonesian bay leaves (daun salam), galangal, coriander powder, and salt.

For palm sugar, you can buy either the block version or the granulated version.

For tamarind, I usually buy wet seedless tamarind and add water to make tamarind paste as needed.

For red chilies, choose the spiciness level you can tolerate. My favorite is red Fresno chilies. For a spicier option, choose cayenne or birds-eye chilies instead.

For shallots, you can use either smaller Asian/Chinese shallots or the regular French shallot.

Deep-fried tempeh sticks, spice paste (from shallot, garlic, galangal, and chilies), tamarind, palm sugar, salt, coriander, thinly sliced fresno chilies, and slivers of kaffir lime leaves.

Deep-fried tempeh sticks, spice paste (from shallot, garlic, galangal, and chilies), tamarind, palm sugar, salt, coriander, thinly sliced fresno chilies, and slivers of kaffir lime leaves.

First part: make deep-fried tempeh sticks

First, cut your fresh tempeh into 2-inch matchstick pieces.

Then, heat a pot of oil for deep-frying. I typically make sure there is at least 2 inches of oil. Wait until the oil is hot. If you have a bamboo chopstick (just save a pair when you have some Chinese takeout), you can lower one chopstick and if the oil bubbles around the chopstick, it is ready.

Next, deep fry tempeh until golden brown and crispy. If you have a small-ish pot, don’t crowd the pot, but deep fry the tempeh in batches.

Finally, once the tempeh sticks are all golden brown and crispy looking, scoop it up with a strainer (a fine mesh skimmer or a spider strainer is really the best tool for this) and set aside over a wire rack to remove excess oil.

Kering Tempeh - Fried Tempeh with Sweet and Spicy Glace.

Kering Tempeh – Fried Tempeh with Sweet and Spicy Glace.

Second part: make the sweet and spicy glace

Once you have deep-fried your tempeh, it is time to make the sauce. Make sure your prep work is all done since this part will be super quick.

First, heat 2 tablespoon oil in a wok/frying pan over medium-high heat and fry the spice paste, coriander powder, thinly sliced red chilies, kaffir lime leaves slivers, and daun salam (if using) until fragrant. (~ 3 minutes)

Then, add palm sugar, salt, and tamarind paste. Stir and cook until everything boils and bubbles vigorously. (~ 2 minutes)

Finally, once the sauce looks thick, return the deep-fried tempeh sticks to the wok/frying pan, and toss gently until all the tempeh pieces are fully coated with the sauce.

Quickly turn off the heat, transfer tempeh to a serving plate and serve immediately.

Kering Tempeh - Fried Tempeh with Sweet and Spicy Glace.

Kering Tempeh – Fried Tempeh with Sweet and Spicy Glace.

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