Fast-Braised Tofu with Tempeh

MAKES: 4 servings

TIME: 20 minutes

A take on the classic ma po tofu, this substitutes crisp crumbled tempeh for the more common pork, and a wonderful substitution it is: The texture is just as crunchy and the flavor if anything more complex. Be sure to start a pot of rice before you do anything else since you don’t have to prepare the tofu in any way and the whole recipe takes just 20 minutes or so.

1/4 cup peanut oil or neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn

4 ounces (about 1 cup) tempeh

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger

1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, or to taste

1 cup chopped scallion, green part only

3/4 cup vegetable stock or water

1 pound soft or silken tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/4 cup soy sauce

Salt

Minced fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)

Put half the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, use 2 forks or your fingers to crumble the tempeh into the oil. Cook, stirring frequently and scraping up any browned bits, until the tempeh is deeply colored and crisp on all sides, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the tempeh with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Add the remaining oil to the skillet. When hot, add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes and cook just until they begin to sizzle, less than a minute. Add the scallion and stir; add the stock, then the tofu. Cook, stirring once or twice, until the tofu is heated through, just a few minutes.

Stir in the reserved tempeh and the soy sauce; stir gently once or twice. Taste and add salt and pepper flakes as necessary. Garnish with the cilantro if you like and serve.