Recipe of the Week!February 17, 2010
Tofu sometimes gets a bad rap, mainly from those who haven’t had it cooked properly. But when it’s done right, when it’s crisp on the outside and smooth on the inside, it’s a marvelous substitute for meat, and it absorbs sauce quite well. Today’s recipe is a take on a popular Chinese restaurant item, the lettuce wrap. The trendy Chinese eateries usually use chicken for this dish, but I find that tofu works just as well, if not better, for creating delicious “Chinese soft tacos,” if you will. For best tofu texture, use extra-firm tofu and drain it thoroughly – place it on a large plate and put something heavy on top, turning the tofu brick every 15 minutes or so for an hour and draining off the water each time. The key to a successful lettuce wrap is using lettuce with thick, wide leaves that aren’t brittle, such as Boston leaf, butter, or red leaf…Romaine is ok, but definitely no iceberg! Feel free to throw in your favorite other vegetables as well. Serve it with rice, and you’re all set for this week’s Recipe of the Week!
Eric’s Tofu-tastic Lettuce Wraps
15 oz. extra-firm tofu, drained
¼ cup vegetable or peanut oil
1-2 tbsp. spicy Asian chili sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup carrots, shredded or diced
½ cup cucumber, diced
2 scallions, chopped
¼ peanuts, chopped
Lettuce leaves, washed
Heat oil in a pan over med-high heat. Slice tofu into 1-inch cubes and place into pan. Cook until tofu is just golden brown, turning as needed. Carefully drain all but 1 tbsp. of the oil out of the pan, keeping tofu in the pan. Return pan to stove, reduce heat to medium. Add chili sauce and garlic, stirring to coat tofu and cook for 2 minutes. Add carrots, cucumber and scallions. Reduce heat to med-low and cook until veggies are just tender, 3 or 4 minutes, stirring often. Transfer mixture into a serving bowl and top with peanuts. To make wraps, scoop a small amount of tofu mixture into a lettuce leaf, top with some Hoisin sauce, and roll up like a soft taco. Eat!