Category Archives: Tofu

Lettuce Wraps with Hoisin-Peanut Sauce

Can you center a whole dinner around sauce?  Oh, yeah.  Especially if it’s this incredible peanut sauce.  In fact, the lettuce wraps are really more of a garnish in my opinion (although they were very yummy).  I could eat this sauce with a spoon.

If you had told me a few years ago that I’d be liking tofu I would have called you crazy.  I was never a huge fan.  After a couple very bad recipe failures early in my cooking experiments, I went many years without touching the stuff.  But my recent foray into vegetarian cooking has led me to venture into tofu territory again and oddly enough, I find myself developing a genuine like for it.

I’m definitely getting my money’s worth out of my Cooking Light subscription lately.  I think this is the third or fourth dish I’ve made out of the most recent issue.  I’m loving the fresh, seasonal dinners and this one was no exception.

This is the first recipe I’ve made with the tofu crumbled, and I found the consistency appealing, very similar to scrambled eggs in texture, but taking on the flavor of all the yummy ingredients mixed with it.  These were delicious and a huge hit with the kids too!

Lettuce Wraps with Hoisin-Peanut Sauce. As you can see, I’m a serial over-filler when it comes to lettuce wraps and tacos. Have extra napkins ready.

Lettuce Wraps with Hoisin-Peanut Sauce
(from Cooking Light)

Sauce ingredients:
1 tsp canola oil
1 tbsp minced shallot
1/3 cup water
2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
4 tsp hoisin sauce
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tbsp fresh lime juice

Filling ingredients:
1 (14 oz.) package extra-firm tofu, drained and crumbled
1 tbsp dark sesame oil
5 thinly sliced green onions (about 2/3 cup, divided)
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, divided
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp Sriracha (hot chile sauce)
1 cup matchstick-cut cucumbers
1 cup matchstick-cut carrots
2 cups cooked rice
8 (or more if they are small) Bibb lettuce leaves

To prepare tofu for filling, spread crumbled tofu in a single layer on several layers of paper towels.  Cover with additional paper towels.  Let stand 20 minutes, pressing down occasionally.

Meanwhile, to prepare sauce, heat a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add canola oil to pan, swirl to coat.  Add shallot and cook for 2 minutes.  Add water, peanut butter, hoisin sauce and crushed red pepper and stir with a whisk.  Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute.  Remove from heat and stir in lime juice.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add sesame oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add 1/3 cup green onions, saute one minute.  Add tofu, saute for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add 2 tbsp.cilantro, soy sauce, ginger, sugar and Sriracha.  Saute one minute.  Remove from heat.  Stir in cucumbers, carrots and remaining green onions.

Spoon 1/4 cup rice into each lettuce leaf.  Top with about 1/2 cup tofu mixture.  Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with sauce.

Serves 4.

 

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Fire Pot Soup

Tofu is one of those things I have been trying to enjoy more.  It’s a great source of plant-based protein, and since we are eating a lot less meat these days, it just seems like a good idea to expand our horizons.  I started out really hating it.  But, being a little stubborn about things like this, I’ve continued trying.  After cooking and eating it many different ways, believe it or not, I have come up with a few ways I actually like it.  In my opinion, the key to enjoying tofu is to not think of it as a substitute for meat.  It’s not.  There is no way I have ever eaten it where it reminded me even a little bit of meat.  Trying to pull this off is futile, and in many cases, really disgusting, not to mention disappointing.  Accept tofu for what it is, a food unto itself, and enjoy the unique qualities it has to offer.

One of those unique qualities is that rather than having much of a taste of its own, it tends to take on the flavors of whatever you cook with it.  This is one of the qualities that makes it terrific in soup.  It adds a little texture (I like the extra firm tofu that actually holds its shape), and soaks up all the flavors in the pot.

For this soup, you don’t have to use tofu if you’re dead set against it.  Make it with just shrimp, or just tofu, or neither, or both.  It would also be excellent with chicken.  And though the name might lead you to expect something excessively spicy, I found it to be rather mild.  You can make it more or less spicy by adding or subtracting chile peppers (or chopping them up instead of just stabbing them), and/or adding or subtracting curry paste, which does have a kick.  This is the recipe I used, and I would rate it a medium on the spicy scale – enough to make my nose run, but not to make my eyes water.

Fire Pot Soup

Fire Pot Soup
(adapted from Eat, Live, Run)

1 pound raw shrimp, peeled & deveined
8 oz. extra firm tofu, cute into small cubes
3 tbsp. thai red curry paste
Canola oil
1/4 cup basil leaves, torn (thai basil is preferred, but regular basil works fine too)
1 tbsp. fish sauce
2 tsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 – 14 oz. can coconut milk
2 cups chicken broth
Lemongrass – 1-2 small stalks, smash with flat of knife
Juice from 1/2 lime
2-3 red or green Thai chiles (or you can use serrano peppers), pierced a couple of times with a knife
Cooked rice

Heat a drizzle of oil in dutch oven or soup pot.  Add shrimp and saute less than a minute, just until it’s turning pink and curling.  Remove shrimp and set aside along with the cubed tofu. Heat another drizzle of oil over medium high heat.  Add curry paste and stir and mash together with oil until combined.  Whisk in coconut milk and broth.  Add fish sauce, brown sugar, salt, basil, lime juice, lemongrass and chiles.  Bring to a boil, turn down and simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Coarsely chop the cooked shrimp and add both that and the tofu to the pot.  Heat through and serve over rice.  Be sure to remove the chiles and lemongrass before eating!

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