Braised food

This Gochujang Braised Tempeh Recipe is an Instant Pot Hit

Gochugang Braised Tempeh Lettuce Wraps

Active time:

Total time:55 minutes


Active time:25 minutes

Total time:55 minutes


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I raved about tempeh, the fermented soybean cakes that are a staple in my plant-based diet. Nutritionally, it’s a superstar, packed with protein, fiber and probiotics. And when properly cooked, it has a nutty taste and a soft but dense texture, which makes it perfectly suited to preparations that usually call for meat.

Allow me to repeat this qualifier: “when it’s well done”. If you just fry an entire block of tempeh and season it with nothing but salt and pepper, you’ll end up with something dry and uninspiring. Add a little liquid, either as a steamer or as a braising sauce, and the tempeh opens up, leaving it able to soak up flavor. It also becomes pleasantly soft, while retaining some chewiness.

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Turns out the Instant Pot is a great way to cook it. (Is there anything the IP can’t do?) In this recipe from the team at America’s Test Kitchen, you use the pan to braise it in a mixture containing gochujang, the Korean chili paste spicy and sweet, then cook the sauce until it’s thick enough to coat the tempeh pieces.

The dish is tasty enough to eat as is, perhaps with rice or noodles. But for something more festive, pair it with some quick pickled veggies and wrap it all up in Bibb or butter lettuce leaves. The crunchy, tangy pickles act like spicy tempeh leaves, and the lettuce configuration makes them fun to assemble and eat, no utensils required.

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Make Ahead: Pickled vegetables can be refrigerated up to 24 hours before making the wraps.

Storage Notes: Refrigerate leftover tempeh for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Refrigerate pickles for up to 3 days.

Where to buy: Gochujang can be found in many well-stocked supermarkets or Asian markets.

  • 1 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced ​​diagonally
  • 4 ounces (2 cups) bean sprouts
  • 4 green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided
  • 4 teaspoons grated fresh ginger, divided
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup or maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated or pressed
  • 1 pound tempeh, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 heads Bibb lettuce (8 ounces each), leaves separated

In a medium bowl, combine vinegar and sugar. Microwave on HIGH until steaming, 1-2 minutes, then whisk to dissolve sugar. Add cucumber and bean sprouts and let stand, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Drain the vegetables and return them to the now empty bowl. Stir in green onions, 1 teaspoon sesame oil and 1 teaspoon ginger. Reserve until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, in Instant Pot or other multicooker, whisk together water, gochujang, agave or maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, remaining oil and remaining ginger. Arrange the tempeh as close to an even layer as possible in the pan and pour the sauce over the top of any pieces that aren’t submerged. Lock the lid in place and make sure the steam valve is sealed. Select PRESSURE (HIGH) and set the cooking time to 12 minutes. (It should take at least 10 minutes for the device to reach pressure.)

Once the timer goes off, release the pressure manually by moving the pressure release handle to “Venting”, covering your hand with a towel, and making sure to keep your hand and face away from the vent when steam is released. Carefully remove the lid, allowing steam to escape away from you. Transfer the tempeh to a serving platter.

Using the highest SAUTE setting, simmer sauce, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 1-2 minutes. Switch off the device. Pour the sauce over the tempeh, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve in lettuce leaves with the pickled vegetables. Serve hot.

Per serving (9 pieces of tempeh, 3 large lettuce leaves, using agave, without the pickles)

Calories: 212; Total fat: 9 g; Saturated fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 391mg; Carbohydrates: 20g; Dietary fiber: 2g; Sugar: 9g; Protein: 16g

This analysis is an estimate based on the available ingredients and this preparation. It should not replace the advice of a dietitian or nutritionist.

Adapted from “Healthy and Delicious Instant Pot” by America’s Test Kitchen (2021).

Tested by Joe Yonan; questions by e-mail to [email protected].

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