Lettuce Wraps

Bankim and I are house sitting for a friend during the coming week. Its a cute house in the middle of the wild. Lots of adventure coming up — mostly for me, because I am shit scared of bugs that hop and lizards….and this house (as cute and beautiful it is) is going to be filled with them.

I am really looking forward to cooking and photo-shooting there though. There are some really beautiful tables with textures and lots of natural light.

Here is a little about this recipe – during the years when I ate meat I used to love the chicken lettuce wraps at P.F Chang’s. This recipe is my attempt to recreate the flavor of those chicken lettuce wraps but without the meat.

I used a combination of tofu and oyster mushroom to get a little bit of chewiness that compliments the crispness of the lettuce.

It actually turned out to be a simple recipe – I used a bunch of ready made sauces to create a marinade for the tofu and mushrooms, and another set of sauce for cooking them.

Water chestnut goes really well with this recipe, I couldn’t find it anywhere here so I had to skip it – but I highly recommend that you use it. Just add it to the tofu, mushroom mixture.

Add some crispy noodles on the top before folding the wraps – fry the rice vermicelli in hot oil (you don’t need to boil the noodles before frying). Serve the wraps with your favorite sauce.

Serving 8 wraps

cooking time 30 min

Things you will need:

1 big head iceberg lettuce

1 cup firm tofu, diced into small sice

1/2 cup dry oyster mushrooms, soaked in hot water

1/4 cup water chestnut, chopped

1/2 cup green onions, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tsp ginger, minced

2 tbs sesame seed oil

For the marinade

1 tbs hoisin sauce

1 tbs soy sauce

1 tbs plum sauce

1/2 tbs sriracha (or any other hot sauce)

1 tbs sesame seed oil

2 tsp corn starch

For the stir fry sauce

2 tbs soy sauce

1 tbs hoisin sauce

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp fennel seeds

1 dry red chili

In a large bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients and mix well to form a smooth sauce. Add diced tofu, oyster mushrooms and water chestnut, and mix till the sauce/marinade coats everything evenly. Let it sit for 15 min- the mixture will soak up all the liquid.

Combine all the ingredients for the stir fry sauce in a bowl, mix well and keep aside.

In a big wok, heat up the sesame oil, add garlic and ginger and cook on high for about 30 seconds. Add the green onions, dry chili and fennel seeds. Cook till the onions are slightly transparent. Add the stir fry sauce and the tofu mixture and cook on medium high for about 5  minutes. Turn the heat off and bring it to room temperature or slightly warm.

Separate the leaves from the lettuce (make sure to not tear them, you want lettuce cups in which you can and the tofu filling) insert it into ice cold water for 5 minutes…this will enhance the crunchiness and the color of the lettuce leaves. Take out from the water and dab with a kitchen towel. Add about 2 spoonful of the tofu mixture, slightly crush up some fried vermicelli in your palms and sprinkle it on the tofu mixture before folding the wraps. Serve with your favorite hot or sweet sauce.