Have you tried my kung pao TEMPEH (宫保素丁) recipe yet? “Kung pao” is a Sichuanese dish, traditionally made with cubed chicken, but I’ve learned to make it with both oyster mushrooms and tofu in China— the signature flavor doesn’t come from meat but the sweet and tangy sauce (with Chinkiang black vinegar and sugar) and Sichuan peppercorns + dried chilies. Tempeh is still my favorite though, it’s such a hearty protein.
- 1 8oz block tempeh
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing cooking wine optional
- 1 tsp corn starch
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
Stir Fry Sauce
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp Chinkiang vinegar sub 1 1/2 tsp balsamic + 1 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 3/4 tsp corn starch
- 1 tsp water
Stir Fry Ingredients
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 2 tbsp dried red chilies divided
- 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 tbsp ginger minced
- 6 scallion white parts only, cut to match size of peanuts
- 1/2 red bell pepper chopped into 1/2 inch dice
- 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
- 1 scallion green part, sliced thinly for garnish
- Blanch tempeh in boiling water, or steam, for 1-2 minutes (this reduces bitterness and softens it to soak up more flavors, optional but highly recommended). Cut tempeh into small 1/2 inch cubes, then add to a bowl with the marinade ingredients and stir to coat. Set aside to marinate for 15 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the stir-fry sauce in a small bowl, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
- Over medium heat, heat one tablespoon of oil in a wok until shimmering. Add half of the dried chilies and peppercorns and fry until chilies are darkened. Remove the blackened spices from wok, leaving only the oil. Add ginger and chopped green onions and fry for 30 seconds. Increase heat to high, then add tempeh cubes (with their remaining marinade) and the other half of the dried chilies, and cook until tempeh is heated through. Add red bell pepper. Give the stir-fry sauce a stir and pour it into the wok, then toss until tempeh is evenly coated. This process should be quick.
- Turn off heat, add in the toasted peanuts, and stir to make sure everything is incorporated. Add green onions for garnish, if desired. Plate and serve hot.