Tofu Mushroom Lettuce Wraps

Can you tell that today’s weather in West Michigan was rainy and icky?  I have a lot of posts and have done tons of cooking today.  Don’t worry, I also got all of the laundry done, I’m a girl, so I can multi-task you see.  After my farmer’s market visit this A.M. I had dried mushrooms, some amazing carrots and radishes, beautiful red leaf lettuce, and then some celery and mushrooms from the fridge that were just about to be read their last rites.  So, I took another NY Times recipe and adapted it for my ingredients, tastes, and made it a little more substantial than an appetizer.

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For the Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon red wine (fruity or dry, makes no difference, I used Bogle Petit Sirah-tip: don’t use a wine for cooking you wouldn’t drink and love)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Splenda
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch + 1 tablespoon water

For the filling:

  • 8-10 dried mushrooms, soaked in warm water until softened, about 45 minutes (save this liquid it’s a fab base for mushroom soup later, freeze it)
  • 20 or so baby portobella mushrooms chopped up fine, stir fried and carmelized then left to cool
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 celery stalks, strings removed with a vegetable peeler, finely diced (to make 1 cup)
  • 3 carrots, peeled and finely diced (to make 1 cup)
  • 4 scallions, green parts only, trimmed and minced (to make 3/4 cup)
  • 2 ounces firm tofu, pressed and crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons crushed peanuts or cashews
  • 2 sleeves soba or udon noodles cooked and drained
  • 1 lime sliced
  • grated fresh ginger
  • grated fresh radish
  • mung bean sprouts
  • Hoisin sauce or Black Bean Sauce

1. For the sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, wine, sugar and pepper. In another small bowl, stir together the cornstarch with water. Set bowls aside.

2. Before you begin with the stir-fry portion, make sure all of your ingredients are chopped uniformly, and DRY for the best flavor and texture.  For the filling: Drain mushrooms, trim tough stalks and finely dice mushrooms; there should be about 2 cups with both dry and fresh after they reduce. Place a large wok over high heat and add canola oil. When oil is hot, add mushrooms, celery, carrots and scallions. Stir-fry until celery and carrots are crisp-tender, about 45 seconds. Add soy sauce mixture and stir for 20 seconds. Add cornstarch mixture and stir until thickened, about 30 seconds.

3. Add tofu and toss gently, being careful not to break up tofu too much. Add sesame oil and noodles and toss again. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with nuts.

To serve:

8 to 12 whole leafy lettuce leafs (I used red leafy lettuce, would be GREAT on napa cabbage leaves too)

Hoisin sauce as needed (ick, I hate Hoisin, I used Black Bean Sauce instead)

Spritz of lime juice to taste, extra sprinkle of nuts and mung bean sprouts, grated ginger and grated radish

WARNING:  this is not a first date dish.  Super duper messy, slurping, soy sauce down your arms dripping, sloppy deliciousness.

Next day:  serve the leftovers on a bed of rice (you will have plenty of leftovers)

If you are unfamiliar with any ingredients or you want to know what you can sub to give the dish a similar flavor, visit Cook’s Thesaurus.

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