Monday, July 4, 2011

Asian Tofu Lettuce Salad

 A warm and flavorful tofu salad sitting on top of crisp fresh iceberg lettuce, topped with crispy rice noodles. Depending on the portion size, this can make a lovely appetizer, a snack or a complete meal.

This recipe was inspired by Chinese restaurant chain P.F Changs, which we go to because they have an extensive gluten free menu. One of our favorite dishes on their menu is the tofu (or chicken, for the meat eater) lettuce wraps. We found a recipe that looked very similar in Sheshet Asian, and decided to try using that recipe to make something similar to what we eat at the restaurant.

At the restaurant, they serve this with a side of "bowls" made from the lettuce, which you then use to wrap parts of the tofu mixture. But if the iceberg doesn't quite want to cooperate, you can just eat this as a regular salad, or you can use iceberg bits that aren't perfect bowls to use for the wraps.

Also, if you've been wanting to try tofu for the first time, this is a good recipe to use, because the strong flavors mask the blandness that tofu can sometimes have.

Asian Tofu Lettuce Salad

Ingredients (for 2-4 portions, depending if you eat it as an appetizer or full meal): 

- 1 pack extra firm tofu, cut into very very small cubes.
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon grass, very finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, very finely chopped or minced
- 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
- 1 small chili pepper, finely diced
- 2 tbsp soy sauce (or gluten free Tamari)
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 scallions (green onions) finely sliced.
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- a handful of mint, finely chopped
- a handful of basil, finely chopped
- a handful of cilantro, finely chopped (optional)
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- Crispy rice noodles, to top (optional)

To serve: iceberg (round) lettuce leaves (ideally "bowl" shaped, but don't worry about it), washed and dried. 


1. Prepare the tofu: Heat the oil in a wok and stir fry the lemon grass, garlic, ginger and chili until they start to turn golden. Add the tofu cubes (they should really be very small, almost like "ground tofu"), and keep frying while stirring for another 2-3 minutes. Add the soy sauce and the lemon and stir well. Taste to check flavoring and if necessary add more soy sauce or lemon.

2. Turn off heat, and add the scallion, the sprouts, the herbs and the sesame to the salad, and mix.

3. Arrange a few leaves of lettuce on a plate, and top each leaf with some of the salad. If desired, top with some crispy noodles.

4. You can eat this with a knife and fork, but the fun way to eat it is to lift up a lettuce leaf, wrap it around the salad, and eat them like a wrap.

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