Kalio Tempe: Vegetables in Coconut Milk Gravy from Indonesia

Kalio Tempe - Vegetables in Galangal and Coconut Milk Gravy. This Balinese specialty from Indonesia
Kalio Tempe – Vegetables in Galangal and Coconut Milk Gravy – Indonesian Recipe

I have been reading the BBC Good Food Guide for some time now. I keep looking at the delectable recipes in this magazine and tell myself that I will try them “sometime.” Given the number of cookbooks I have and blogs I follow, I have hardly had the time to try something I read in this magazine.

As I was travelling to work this past week, I was browsing the old issues of the BBC Good Food Guide this week on my iPad when I came across this recipe for Kalio Tempe and  vowed to try it immediately for several reasons.

  • I love anything that has coconut milk.
  • The dish seemed to have a complex mix of flavours and seemed spicy.
  • I had several of the ingredients on hand and could access the most of the others easily.
  • In the winter chill, I wanted something warm more than a soup but not regular solid food.

So here goes!

Kalio Tempe is a scrumptious dish that has loads of delicious vegetables in a spicy, hearty Coconut Milk gravy flavoured with Galangal, Ginger, and Turmeric.

I have adapted this recipe for the ingredients I had at home and for some reason I found the proportions in the original recipe to be a bit off.

Do you like Coconut Milk-based curries? Try my recipes for Thai Red Curry, Thai Green CurryEgg Curry with Coconut Milk, Kerala Style Stew, Olan, and Sri Lankan Wattakka Kalu Pol.

How to Make Indonesian Kalio Tempe

Recipe Source: BBC Good Food Guide

Serves: 4

Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients for the Kalio Sauce

  1. Shallots or Madras Onions – 12
  2. Finely Chopped Garlic – 1 tbsp
  3. Finely Chopped Ginger – 1 tsp
  4. Finely Chopped Galangal – 2 tsp
  5. Finely Chopped Fresh Turmeric – 1 tsp
    Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
  6. Spicy Dried Red Chillies – 3
  7. Vegetable Stock or Water – 250 ml
  8. Thick Tamarind Pulp – 1 tbsp
  9. Oil – 1 tbsp

Vegetables for the Kalio Tempe

  1. Carrots – 200 gm
  2. French Beans – 100 gms
  3. Broccoli Florets – 100 gms
  4. Brinjal or Eggplant – 100 gms
  5. Zucchini – 50 gms
  6. Cherry Tomatoes – 50 gms
  7. Shallots – 50 gms
  8. Tofu – 50 gms (I did not use any as my family does not like tofu)
  9. Thick Coconut Milk – 150 ml
  10. Pepper Powder – 2 Large Pinches
  11. Oil – 1 tbsp
  12. Salt to Taste

Method to Make the Kalio Paste

  1. Over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp of oil.
  2. Add the shallots, ginger, garlic, galangal, turmeric, and red chillies.
  3. Stir-fry for 3 to 5 minutes till the mix is aromatic.
  4. Let the mix cool and then grind to a smooth paste along with the tamarind pulp and some water/vegetable stock.

Method to Prepare the Vegetables

  1. Peel and dice the carrots.
  2. Cut the french beans into 1/2″ pieces.
  3. Boil 1 litre of water with some salt.
  4. Turn off the heat.
  5. Add the diced carrots, chopped beans and broccoli florets to the water.
  6. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes.
  7. Drain the water and wash with cold water.
  8. Leaves the vegetables in a colander to allow all water to drain.
  9. Cut the Zucchini in 1/2 along the length and then into 1/4″ pieces.
  10. Cut the brinjal into 1/2″ pieces.
  11. Cut the Tofu into 1/2″ pieces.
  12. Heat about 1 tbsp of oil and fry the brinjal pieces.
  13. Remove the brinjal pieces and set aside.
  14. In the same oil, stir-fry the shallots till they are transparent.
  15. Remove the shallots and set aside.
  16. In the remaining oil, lightly fry the tofu pieces.

Putting It All Together

  1. Add the Kalio paste and water or vegetable stock.
  2. Bring to a boil till the gravy thickens a bit.
  3. Add the broccoli, zucchini, carrots, beans, and zucchini.
  4. Let the vegetables cook in the gravy till they are soft.
  5. Turn off the heat.
  6. Add the cherry tomatoes, shallots, tofu and coconut milk.
  7. Mix well.
  8. Add salt and pepper.
  9. Mix well.
  10. Cover and let the Kalio Tempe rest for 10 minutes.
  11. Serve individual portions in bowls.
Kalio Tempe - Vegetables in Galangal and Coconut Milk Gravy - Bali - Indonesia - Recipe
Kalio Temple – A Recipe from Bali, Indonesia



    1. Ginger is the nearest substitute. This recipe already has ginger so increase it by a wee-bit. Use abut 1/2 the amount of Galangal if you are using ginger. This is because ginger has a much stronger taste than galangal.

I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Do leave me a comment.