I had my first taste of Tofu lettuce wrap at the P.F. Chang’s restaurant. The unique taste of this dish along with the experience of assembling lettuce leaves and the seasoned tofu mixture was very appealing to our entire family. Being a vegetarian, this dish became my favorite menu item every time I visited P.F.Chang’s restaurant.
The taste of the tofu filling in the lettuce wrap is defined by the sauce in which Tofu is coated. Although it is difficult to replicate the taste of P.F.Chang’s restaurant, I have tried to create a sauce that closely resembles the restaurant version. As Tofu has a bland taste, the sauce that coats the tofu plays an important role to get this dish the desired taste.
This mouth-watering dish combines stir-fried tofu and vegetables wrapped in fresh iceberg lettuce leaves. You may garnish the tofu filling with roasted peanuts, sesame seeds and chopped spring onion greens. The dish is filled with fiber, proteins, and healthy nutrients.
You can store the tofu mixture in the refrigerator and reheat it before assembling the wraps for eating.
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Tofu Lettuce Wrap – Asian fusion recipe
The Tofu Lettuce Wrap is a Vegetarian Recipe that is ideal for an appetizer course or as a light meal. Commonly found in Asian restaurants, this dish combines the freshness of Lettuce, stir-fried tofu, and vegetables dipped in a savory sauce.
For the brown sauce :
For the Main dish :
Drying and shallow frying the Tofu
- After removing the tofu from its packaging, let the water drain completely. Then press the Tofu using an absorbent cloth and using a heavy weighted object to press it for about 10 minutes. ( If the moisture is retained in Tofu, it will not give the right texture to tofu mixture)
- Cut the tofu into 1/4 inch wide strips.
- I used the OTG ( oven toaster grill) to get all the moisture out from the Tofu and also get a light brown coat on tofu. This will ensure that the tofu is completely dry and ready for pan-frying.
- Heat a non-stick frying pan and coat a thin layer of oil. Add the tofu slabs and fry them for another 10-15 minutes on high heat to get a light golden crunchy texture on the outer layer.
- Remove the tofu slabs from the pan and cut them into small pieces (I kept the size to about ¼ inch cubes )
Preparing the brown sauce
- Heat a non-stick pan and add two tsp of cooking oil
- Once the oil has heated, add the crushed red pepper and the ginger & garlic pastes.
- Keep stirring on low flame until the raw smell of ginger and garlic has disappeared.
- Add the soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar
- Keep stirring on low heat until the liquid thickens
- Add Peanut butter, ketchup, sesame oil, and hot sauce
- Add the sesame seeds, and salt
- The sauce should be now dark reddish-brown in color and of thick consistency. Taste the sauce and adjust the spice/salt levels.
- Remove from heat.
Key sauces / ingredients from market - commonly available in any Asian grocery store
Preparing the Tofu Vegetable mixture
- Take a stir-fry pan with raised edges
- Heat the remaining oil. Add ginger-garlic paste and keep stirring
- After the raw smell of ginger and garlic paste disappears, add all veggies except the green part of spring onions.
- Raise the heat to high and keep stirring the veggies. A slight charring will give a beautiful restaurant-style flavor.
- Once the veggies are slightly charred, add the Tofu and continue to stir for another 6-8 minutes.
- Lower the flame. Add the brown sauce and stir it into the tofu and veggies to coat uniformly.
- Sprinkle the chopped green part of spring onions. Give one more stir and remove from heat.
Assembling & Serving the Tofu lettuce wrap
- Take a whole lettuce leaf. Add 1/2 cup of tofu veggie mixture and sprinkle some chopped peanuts and sesame seeds.
- Roll the lettuce into a wrap and bite into a melody of freshness filled with spicy-sweet-savory sauce, crunchiness of peanuts complemented by the fried tofu
- The brown sauce can be prepared in advance and stored in refrigerator for a few weeks
- The tofu veggie mixture can also be made in advance and stored in refrigerator. Just reheat it before assembling the wraps.