Gochujang-Braised Tempeh Lettuce Wraps – The Washington Post

The Instant Pot makes fast work of braising tempeh, turning it softer and letting it soak up this sweet-spicy sauce. The nuggets of fermented soybeans pair here with crisp quick-picked vegetables, eaten in lettuce wraps for a fun dinner with a kick.

Active time: 25 mins; Total time: 55 mins

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

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

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



Tested size: 6 servings

  • 1 cup unseasoned rice vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced ​​on the bias

  • 4 ounces (2 cups) bean sprouts

  • 4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced

  • 4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided

  • 4 teaspoons grated fresh ginger, divided

  • 1 cup water

  • 3 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chile paste)

  • 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 the vinegar and sugar. Microwave on HIGH until steaming, 1 to 2 minutes, then whisk to dissolve the sugar. Add the cucumber and bean sprouts and let sit, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Drain the vegetables and return them to the now-empty bowl. Stir in the scallions, 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil and 1 teaspoon of the ginger. Set aside until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, in the Instant Pot or another multicooker, whisk together the water, gochujang, agave or maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, the remaining oil and the remaining ginger. Arrange the tempeh in as close to an even layer in the pot as possible and spoon the sauce over the top of any pieces that aren’t submerged. Lock the lid into place and make sure the steam valve is sealed. Select PRESSURE (HIGH) and set the cook time to 12 minutes. (It should take a few minutes for the appliance to come to 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 the steam releases. Carefully remove the lid, allowing the steam to escape away from you. Transfer the tempeh to a serving dish.

Using the highest SAUTE function, simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, until it thickens slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the appliance off. Spoon the sauce over the tempeh, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve in lettuce leaves with the pickled vegetables. Serve warm.

Recipe Source

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

Tested by Joe Yonan.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at food@washpost.com.


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