Vegan Filipino: Tempeh Adobo with Kang-kong

adobo tempeh fancy plating

Adobo is undeniably one of the most popular Filipino dishes out there. It’s a Filipino food staple recognized for its seasonings. To those unfamiliar with the dish, Adobo is basically a marinate of different sauces and seasonings such as soy sauce, vinegar, black pepper, and garlic.

For my version, I’m incorporating a new vegan favorite: tempeh. Honestly, I used to think tempeh is nasty, then I realized I was just trying bad tempehs. After eventually discovering the authentic kind, here’s what I learned: always get the organic, Indonesian Style tempeh. Never buy tempeh at the supermarket unless the tempeh is made of pure soybeans (not mixed with grains, rice, etc.). It also makes a difference if it’s organic. My trusted brand so far is “Indonesian Style tempeh by Turtle Island”. My vegan chef friend, Philip Gelb also makes awesome tempeh from scratch (not sure if he’s selling them though).

To make the tempeh Adobo even more special, I added the vegetable Kang-kong or water spinach (sold at most Asian stores in the US as “On-choy“). Kang-kong Adobo is gaining popularity at restaurants in Philippines as more and more Filipinos incorporate a meatless diet.


Makes 6-8 servings


  • 2 packs of organic tempeh, thinly sliced
  • 1 handful Kang-kong/water spinach or On-choy at Asian supermarkets , chopped in 1 to 2 inch lenght
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, thoroughly crushed
  • 8 tbsp. organic tamari (or more to taste)
  • pinch of freshly cracked black peppers
  • bunch of fresh sweet basil (or dried bay leaves)
  • 6-8 tbsp cooking oil


  • Adobo usually uses vinegar but because tempeh could bring out a nice, subtle acidity once marinated, there’s no need to use vinegar.
  • Adobo is best enjoyed with rice.
  • You could either boil the tempeh in hot water for 10 minutes then transfer to the marinate and marinate for about 20 minutes or fry the tempeh first then add the seasonings. I prefer the latter for a firmer, fried texture. Try doing half-half and see which one you would like better.


  1. In a medium pan, heat the oil then add the garlic. Saute until the garlic is slightly golden.
  2. Add the tempeh. Fry until each side of the tempeh is dark brown (be careful not to burn it though).
  3. Add the tamari, basil, and black pepper. Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
  4. Incoporate the Kang-kong to the pan and combine well. Lower the heat and simmer until the Kang-kong has wilted. Add more tamari and pepper to taste. Pour a bit more cooking oil for a richer taste. Turn off the heat and transfer to a serving plate.
  5. Serve with a side of rice. Garnish with slices of apricots (yummy but optional).

You could plate it many ways. I had fun with it and serve it:

Fancy restaurant style

adobo tempeh fancy plating

 Homecooking style

adobo tempeh homecooking

And hors d’oeuvre style-which I substituted Kang-kong with sliced fried eggplants and skewered them with fresh leaves of sweet basil.

adobo tempeh fingerfood

Feel free to serve it your way. Leme know how your Adobo goes. I’d love to hear all about it! And if you have any tips with Tempeh, feel free to share them here.


16 thoughts on “Vegan Filipino: Tempeh Adobo with Kang-kong

  1. Pingback: FridayFunList: 6 Food Staples in Vegan Filipino Cooking | ASTIG Vegan

    • Hi Ricky! Are you based in the Philippines or the US? If you’re in the Philippines, there’s a new store that sells vegan products called “Coco Green”, their site: If you’re here in the US, visit your Asian store and see their Indonesian product section or frozen section. Whole Foods & other health food stores also carry them though some are not purely made of Tempeh. Just check the ingredients. Hope that helps!

  2. Pingback: Filipino Vegan: Kangkong And Tofu In Chili Garlic (Guest Post) | ASTIG Vegan

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