tofu lettuce wraps

TofuLettuceWrapsFinal

Last night Boston Boy, Boston Sister, and I ate our weight in sushi and tots (that’s right sushi and tots under the same roof!) at Sticky Rice, one of our favorite H Street haunts. Sticky Rice has some of the most unique sushi rolls I’ve ever enjoyed – like the Godzirra (crunchy shrimp, avocado, cream cheese, spicy sauce, cucumbers + crunch) or the Drawn and Buttered (no big deal, just some lump crab sushi you dip in butter! that’s right…sushi dipped in butter. Big Daddy, take notes!) – but in spite of their cornucopia of creative rolls, one of my favorite of their dishes is their tofu lettuce wraps! Chunks of fried tofu mixed with a delicious soy ginger sauce with just the right amount of crisp from the lettuce and crunch from huge chunks of water chestnuts. Delish!

24 hours later and I was hungry for more, so I whipped up my own rendition of this veggie delight. For ease and health, I opted against frying my tofu (although, it would be delish! If you want to try these with fried tofu hunks, I recommend borrowing the frying method from our Soy Ginger Tofu with Bok Choy). Grab these ingredients and you’ll be crunching away on these tofu lettuce wraps in no time! Also…for anyone suffering from tofu-phobia, this dish is a great gateway!

tofulettucewrapsingredietns

1 pound extra firm tofu
5 cloves of garlic chopped
2 tbl ginger chopped (I love ginger, so if you’re less of a ginger nut you may want to reduce)
1 tbl lemon grass
1/2 chopped onion
2 tbl olive oil
1 package of mixed mushrooms, coarsely chopped
4 tbl hoisin
4 tbl soy
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
romaine lettuce hearts
garnishes: carrots, peanuts

Heat oil in a large saucepan and add onions, garlic, lemon grass, and ginger. Let cook for 5-7 minutes until fragrant and tender.

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While those are cooking, combine soy, hoisin, red pepper, and sesame oil to make your sauce.

IMG_1792Add your mushrooms.

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Cook for about 4 minutes before adding tofu and water chestnuts.

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Pour sauce over everything and mix to combine.

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Cook for another 5-7 minutes until everything’s thoroughly hot, combined, and saucy.

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Scoop heaps of your tofu mixture into romaine lettuce hearts. Garnish with your choice of toppings – I recommend carrots and peanuts!

xoxo,

Julia

miso soup

Title pageOk this was an exciting night in the Hungry Texans kitchen- our foray into dashi!  The classic Japanese seafood stock is the base of so many dishes, including one notorious cure for an annoying cold… miso soup.  I’m not going to lie, I thought of dashi as the japanese equivalent of chicken stock, but it’s quite different.  It’s smoky and earthy and tastes (and smells) like the sea.

It’s also quite easy to make, if you have a bit of time.  The miso soup, from start to finish, took about 1 hour to make.  So pop open a bottle of sake and get cookin’!

for the dashi, you’ll need: 

3 quarts cold water

3 kombu stalks

1 handful bonito flakes

for the miso soup, you’ll need:

2 quarts dashi

1 quart water

1/4 cup white miso paste

1/2 cup scallions

1 cup shitake mushrooms

1 block tofu

2 cups kale

Start your dashi by filling a large pan with cold water.  Add your kombu stalks and bring to a boil.  Once the water is boiling, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes of simmering, add your bonito flakes.  Stir and bring to a boil.  When the whole mixture reaches a boil, turn the stove off.

kombu and bonito flakes

Drain the dashi through a colander. Alright, you’re ready for Top Chef!

dashi

To start your miso soup, add your dashi to a soup pot.  Add your miso paste and stir until it has dissolved.  Throw in sliced shitake mushrooms & scallions, sliced thin.  De-stalk your lovely kale and chop it into small-ish pieces.  You can add the kale directly or blanch it quickly first.

mix ins

If you are making dashi with the hopes of turning it into miso soup, then slice your tofu and let it drain onto paper towels while your making the dashi.  Then, slice into small cubes and add it to the miso pot.

Ok, now are you ready?  This is the hardest part.  Stir it once and cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat.  Then, you’re done.

soup!

xoxo,

the hungry texans

Soy Ginger Tofu with Bok Choy

sweet&sour tofu

This is more exciting than you know! I’ve been a vegetarian for sneaking up on 4 years and this was my first successful attempt to cook tofu in such a way that it evoked the same “yum!-I-ordered-this-for-dinner-at-a-restaurant-and-I’m-extremely-satisfied” feeling. Huge win! The recipe couldn’t have been easier, either. Boston Boy & I hiked Great Falls Sunday and arrived home in desperate need of a quick & nourishing meal pre-movies (we saw Lincoln, and I don’t know that you need to rush to see it while it’s in theaters, but I definitely recommend it!). Did a quick dash to the grocery, cooked & ate it all in under an hour!

This Soy Ginger Tofu is great to keep in your wheelhouse for a simple, scrumptious din din!

bok choy sauce ingredients

For the Sauce:

1/4 c honey

1/4 c lemon juice

1/4 c soy sauce

2 tbl pickled ginger (fresh would of course be wonderful too, but this was a quick operation!)

1 heaping tbl garlic

1 1/2 tbl sriracha

Everything Else:

1 bunch of bok choy (thoroughly cleaned!)

1 package of firm/extra-firm tofu

1/3 c flour

pinch of salt

2 tbl canola oil

So, I recommend you start by situating your tofu. Slice your tofu into 1/2 an inch thick pieces and lay on a bed of paper towels. Lay more paper towels on top and perhaps even a cutting board on top of those paper towels. We want to remove as much liquid from the tofu as possible, as quickly as possible! While that’s being pressed/patted, start on your sauce. I recommend using one liquid measure and adding your honey, then lemon juice, then soy. Mix in your g&g & sriacha & let that rest.

Next (or meanwhile if you have a wonderful Boston Boy as your sous chef) clean and chop your bok choy (both the stalk and the leafy part) into bite-sized pieces.

bokchoyprep

 

Finally, once your tofu has rested for a while, slice each piece 3 times so you have 1 by 2 inch rectangular pieces, then coat each piece in your flour/salt mixture. Now it’s time to cook these babies! Heat your oil in a large skillet. Once your oil is hot enough gently place your tofu (you should see itty bitty bubbles surround it) in the oil. Let the tofu fry for 3-4 minutes and then flip once the bottom is beginning to look golden brown. Cook the second side (it’ll cook a little more quickly than the first) until it’s also golden brown.


tofu_sweet&sour

I removed a good amount of the oil in my pan (I know we’re frying, but we’re health conscious when we can be!) and then added the bok choy. Start by adding the stalky, crunchy parts. Let those get off to a good start cooking & then pour in your sauce. Let it all start to simmer then add the leafy green parts of your bok choy.

Let it all jive together for 5-7 minutes (the stalky parts of your bok choy should be tender with a slight crisp), and then remove from heat. Serve on top of your favorite grain – I choose quinoa!

Give it a try, you’re going to love it! And…I promise, even for all you tofu skeptics. This is a great gateway tofu!