Tahu Bacem is perfect for summer BBQ. Instead of buying tofu or vegetarian burger at the stores for your vegetarian guests, why you don’t try to make this Tahu Bacem. Many recipes of this sweet marinated tofu apply frying process. However, some people like to BBQ them on top of the charcoal.

People on the other part of the planet might think Java is something related to coffee. The reason why I translated Tahu Bacem as Java Marinated Tofu was, this recipe is popular among the Javanese. Javanese especially the ones who are from Central Java tend to cook sweeter food compare to the ones who live in East Java.

One day, I saw there are marinated tofu packages ready to grill/bbq for sale at a health product store. I bought a package of them. When I tried, it did taste like this tahu bacem.

Since then, I always say it’s better to make my own tahu bacems in a big batch then grill them whenever I need. Plus, it costs me cheaper. In this recipe, I will broil them.

How do the Indonesians eat them? Enjoy them as a snack along with biting small pieces of bird eye chilies.

Once again, I approved that it will be easier to be a vegetarian if you are Asian! Many Indonesian recipes that I know are vegetarian and gluten free friendly. I’m not a vegetarian, but I used to be when I was at university for almost 2 years.

Tahu Bacem
Java Marinated Tofu

2 packages (800 g) extra firm tofu (choose Asian style one), cut into smaller bite pieces*
1 L (2.5 cans) young coconut water (substitute for any broth or water if you don’t have)
200 g palm or coconut sugar, shaved or microwaved
4 Indonesian bay leaves (salam leaves)
2 tsp tamarind pulp
a small amount oil for broiling

Spices to be ground:
4 shallots (if you use the small size as the one in Indonesia, take 7 shallots)
3 cloves garlic
3 cm long galangal (can be substituted for ground one)
3 toasted candlenuts (use macadamia nuts if you don’t have it)
1 tbsp ground coriander, toasted
seasalt as desired


Tahu Bacem IngredientsAsian Extra Firm Tofu for Tahu Bacem


1. In a dutch oven, place ground spices, cut tofus, palm or coconut sugars, salam leaves, tamarind pulp and young coconut water.

2. On the stove, at high heat temperature, bring the mixture to a boil. Once, the mixture bubbling, reduce to low-medium heat.

3. Stir occasionally and cook until the liquid dissolves. Remove from heat.

Marinated Tahu Bacem
After Braising Process
4. Move the rack in your oven to the top-most setting. Select high broil mode on the oven. Grease the baking pan with a very small amount cooking oil. Place the braised tofus on the broiler pan and put the pan on top of the rack. Broil about 2-3 minutes for each side of tofus. Every oven has a different heat, so you can adjust the time for broiling. You may barbecue them instead of broiling. The result is supposed to be dark brown and crispy on the edges.

* You can cut tofus into bigger size as the size of your burger buns. But, keep the thickness about 1 cm.

*To braise the tofu, you can use your slow cooker.

* After this braising process, you can keep them in a container and put it in the fridge. When you ready for bbq, just take whatever you need.

Tahu Bacem


  1. I would love some of these…I give you some cantaloupe roast chicken, ok? Barter trade :p

    If I had not taken a closer look at the recipe, I would have thought they are Chinese braised/stewed tofu.

  2. I have never made tahu bacem before. It does look like Chinese braised tofu. Love it, Pepy. It is a great choice for vegetarians.

  3. @Tigerfish: deal

    @Rita: miz water and broth

    @Ancncoo: give it try and let me know

    @Jun: I was thinking to make sate bacem :))

    @Pigpigscorner: one of my faves

    @Lia: I like all including chicken too πŸ™‚

  4. This tofu looks delicious and I like the idea that it is crispy on the edges… Will try soon ! I love tofu!
    It's my first time on your blog and I am glad to have discovered it πŸ™‚
    Do you think I can replace galangal with ginger? I have not found galangal here …

  5. If you don't have any galangal (in fresh, frozen, dry or powder forms), just leave it out. Don't bother to substitute for ginger as it will result a distinct flavour.

    Hope, you will enjoy this tofu and let me know!!

  6. I enjoy your website. love the great photos for each recipe. I have the same passion myself πŸ™‚ Tried this Tahu bacem and it turns out delicious, I modified the recipe a bit, but regardless, it's a comfort food!

  7. Hi, Indonesian Eats…thanx for visiting my blog.

    Well, actually I have linked back to your tahu bacem recipe. If people click "sweet (java) marinated tofu", it will link to your recipe. But now, I have written your link clearly, in the bottom part of the recipe. So, people can see the original recipe from you.

    I apologize that I didn't ask your permission to copy the text. Hope it's ok now,hehe. Next time, I will let you know if I want to copy your recipe.
    Honestly, my English is not really good and I'm just beginer in cooking food, that's why I search an english and found yours as the nice one.

    Thank you, I like your blog. πŸ™‚

  8. Hello Mba Pepy – it’s been a while … hope you’re doing well. I am looking for alternative for grilling/barbeque this summer and came across your site. I will give this one a try for sure …


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