Lemongrass Paste: You want to use the small long skinny cilie peppers for this.
Tempeh: You want to cube the tempeh and sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes. Ground the fennel seeds in a grinder. Use the white and the green of the scallions.
Paste: Cut bulbous bottom 3rd of lemongrass stalk off. Save rest for another use. Remove and discard the tough outer leaves and with a sharp knife cut into thin rounds. Transfer to blender and finely chop. You should have 3 tbsp approximately Add the rest of the paste ingredients and puree to thick paste. Add up to 3 tbsp water if needed to get correct consistancy.
Tempeh: In large skillet, toast coconut over med heat shaking pan an stirring constantly until it becomes uniformly dark and golden brown. Don't let it get too dark. About 5 to 7 minutes then transfer to plate.
Now in the same skillet add the oil and heat over med high. Add the tempeh and fry until golden brown on bottom. Salt liberally. Shake skillet vigoursly and bron on other side. You are looking at 3 to 5 minutes per side. Add the ingredients from the star anise to the cloves and the paste and cook for 2 minutes more.
Now add the potato, milk and water. Cover and boil for 5 minutes. Uncover and boil for 2 mins until potato is tender. Stir frequently. Remove freom heat and add toasted coconut. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with the scallion just before serving with Jasmine rice or Roti Jala.
Make up to 2 days ahead and store in airtight container in fridge. Reheat on stove, stir constantly or heat in microwave. Add the Scallions just before serving.