WHB #278: Tumis Oncom dan Leunca (Sautéed Fermented Soybean Waste with Black Nightshade)

If you wonder why I post quite a lot (and will post more) of Javanese traditional food, it is because I am half Javanese descend. My father grew up in East Java, so did my mother. She even born there. So they brought Javanese culture into our eating habits.

The other half is Sundanese. My parent move to West Java more than 25 years ago and I was born and raised midst of Sundanese culture. I moved to Bandung, capital of West Java region, for college and reside here since then. (Actually, my father's mother is originally from Bandung too, before she moved to East Java with my grandfather and their children.) So besides Javanese, I also grew up with typical Sundanese dishes. And today, I will share some of the flavor for you.

Tumis oncom dan leunca.

Oncom is one of the traditional foods of Sundanese cuisine. Most Indonesian cooking books written in English referred oncom as fermented soybean waste.

Indeed it considered to be closely related to tempeh (fermented soybean). But instead of soybean, oncom is actually made from natural by-products of other foods. For example, soy bean tailings from bean curd making, peanut presscake from peanut oil making, cassava tailings from the starch extraction or coconut presscake remnants after the milk squeezed out. These wastes are then fermented using molds. Thus, said to be, increases the economic efficiency of food production.

There are two kinds of molds used in making oncom, Rhizopus oligosporus which produced black oncom and Neurospora intermedia var. oncomensis which produced red oncom. The reds are reported to be the only human food produced from Neurospora; and also able to reduce cholesterol levels.

Overseas, oncom is commonly sold in Asian Market under the names Textured Vegetables Protein (TVP) Mince, soya granulat, or soya mince. It is dried and need to be brewed before use. In fact, have no idea how it tastes, but it is said to be almost the same with the ones we consumed here in Indonesia.

Meanwhile, leunca (Sundanese term) is also known as buah ranti (in Indonesian) or black nightshade (Solanum nigrum). Here, this berry is popular for lalapan (fresh vegetable and fruit to be eaten with sambal), a kind of salad-like side dish; and to be cooked with oncom and chili.

Sautéed Fermented Soybean Waste with Black Nightshade
(Tumis Oncom dan Leunca, adapted from The Best of Indonesian Cooking)

  • 1½ tablespoons palm oil
  • 4 shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1 red chilies
  • 5 bird's eye chilies
  • 2 salam leaves
  • ½ cm galangal (bruised)
  • 15 g dried shrimps (soak in hot water)
  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind juice
  • 150 g oncom (red or black, rinsed and ground)
  • 75 ml thin coconut milk
  • 50 g black nightshade
  • 1½ teaspoons chili paste
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of brown sugar
  • 25 g lime basil leaves

Preparation method:
  1. In a pan, heat oil then add shallot and garlic, chilies, salam leaf, galangal, dried shrimp, shrimp paste and tamarind juice. Stir until aromatic.
  2. Put in oncom, continue to stir until all mixed thoroughly. Add coconut milk and wait until sauce thickens.
  3. Add black nightshade, chili paste, salt, brown sugar and, lastly, lime basil leaf. Cook until sauce absorbed.
  4. Serve with rice.
Yield 3 serves.

P.S. This is also dedicated for the birthday girl, Arini (she's Sundanese too, so I think it matched). My wish is, may she.. learn to cook! :)

This post is also linked to Weekend Herb Blogging #278.
This week's WHB is hosted by Rachel, The Crispy Cook. Read the full round up of superb recipes around the globe here.


  1. first time here.....this soybean dish looks just yummy !u hav quite a collection of interesting recipes.....happy to follow ur space :-) do visit mine whenever u hav time !

  2. Thank you for checking in, Sonali. I'm checking in to yours right now :)

  3. Thank you for sending over this intriguing dish to Weekend Herb Blogging!

  4. What intriguing ingredients and recipe. Probably that edible Nightshade would grow here. I want to see if it can be found. As for the oncom, maybe tempeh could be substituted?

  5. Halo, Claudia. I'm affraid it would not taste the same because tempeh and oncom have two different characteristics. My friends who lived overseas said that it is sold in Asian market under the name Textured Vegetables Protein (TVP) Mince. Probably you could find it in Hawaii.. :)

  6. What an intriguing dish. I may have seen black nightshade growing wild, but I'm worried for the possible confusion with the deadly belladonna, and I've never seen it on sale. Would maybe small thai eggplants work as a substitute?

  7. Ciao, La Cafettierra Rosa. I have not taste small thai eggplants yet, nor compare it with black nightshade, so I can not recommend it as substitution. However, if you can't find black nightshade for this recipe will still taste good.