“I feel folks classify it as a meat substitute,” Lee says of tempeh, however it’s a lot extra. “It’s thought of a extremely celebrated supply of meals for Indonesians,” who typically depend on tempeh as their major supply of protein, together with fish. So let tempeh be tempeh. Don’t simply contemplate it as a one-for-one swap for, say, a steak or piece of rooster. Search for recipes that decision for it and play to its strengths.

Tempeh works properly in a wide range of dishes, together with soups, stews, stir-fries, sauces, kebabs and sandwiches, whether or not it’s handled the identical manner as meat or not. Tempeh will be reduce into strips, cubes or steaks. It may be grated or crumbled.

Among the many preparations to think about, Lee recommends baking, steaming, boiling and frying. Total, the extra floor space that’s browned, particularly in frying (whether or not deep or shallow), the higher it tastes, giving that “beautiful crunch that’s tremendous moreish,” Lee says. What she doesn’t advocate: consuming uncooked pasteurized tempeh, which is not going to be interesting in taste or texture and would possibly flip you off it for good.

Tempeh acts like a sponge, that means it’s preferrred for marinating, which will be finished in as little as quarter-hour, although longer can also be positive. Marinating works properly if you happen to plan to deep- or pan-fry, Lee says, as a result of it permits the elements to penetrate the inside earlier than the outside is sealed in browning. However marinating is just not necessary, particularly if you happen to’re planning to simmer tempeh in a broth or stew, when flavors can be absorbed in the course of the cooking course of. An alternative choice is to glaze, which will be finished on the finish of cooking after, say, pan-frying. You may as well glaze throughout cooking. Lee likes to baste tempeh with kecap manis, an Indonesian candy soy sauce, each jiffy because it bakes. You possibly can strive Lee’s frying-glazing combo in her recipe for Candy Soy Tempeh (Tempe Manis).