Many people are surprised to learn that chile peppers do not harm the lining of the stomach in fact, they aid digestion. Studies were done on various winners of chile-pepper-eating contests in Mexico and no adverse effects were discovered and the winners had eaten thousands of them! It is true that one must build up a tolerance for hot foods; then somewhere along the line that tolerance turns into a craving, and that once-unbearable fiery sensation becomes a delight. Neophytes claim that the flavor of food is overpowered when it is too hot, but a veteran lover of spiciness can appreciate flavor and fieriness simultaneously. This tempeh dish, like other hot dishes in this book, will not scald your palate. It is moderately hot, but you can adjust the spiciness to your liking by cutting down or adding to the amount of red pepper flakes.

SERVES 4

3 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

Вј cup tamari or other soy sauce

ВЅ teaspoon salt

Вј cup ketchup

1 bunch broccoli

3 tablespoons peanut oil

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

ВЅ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

4 cups (12 ounces) sliced mushrooms

8 ouncesВ tempehimage, cut into 1-inch cubes

1ВЅ recipes Perfect Brown Rice, optional

  1. Mix together the rice wine, soy sauce, salt, and ketchup in a cup or small bowl. Set out all of the remaining ingredients before you to ensure relaxed cooking.
  2. Cut off the broccoli florets just beneath the flower. Peel the stalks and cut into 1-inch logs. Put the florets and stalks in a wok or large skillet with ВЅ cup of water and steam, covered, just until they turn bright green, about 1 minute. Remove from the pan and set aside on a plate. Pour out any remaining water in the pan and wipe it dry.
  3. In the same pan heat the peanut oil over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add the tempeh and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the broccoli and stir-fry for 2 more minutes.
  4. Give the soy sauce mixture another stir, then pour over the tempeh and vegetables. Toss to coat, and serve immediately over rice.

NOTE: You can begin cooking this dish 10 minutes before the rice is done, or you can cook the rice in advance and keep it hot in the oven (325В°F).