Lettuce Wraps with Fried Tofu

Lettuce Wraps with Fried Tofu
(serves 4)

16-20 large lettuce leaves
16 ounce block of firm or extra-firm tofu
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
vegetable oil

1 medium shredded fennel bulb (1/2 large)
1 bunch grilled scallions
3-4 medium julienned carrots
1-2 finely julienned jalapeños
1 bunch fresh Thai basil

Dipping sauce:
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon honey

Prepare in advance, placing each ingredient in its own serving dish, the shredded fennel, julienned carrots, julienned jalapeños, and basil. Wash and dry the whole lettuce leaves and place on a serving plate or basket.

In a small mixing bowl, prepare the dipping sauce by whisking together the soy sauce, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, sesame oil, red pepper, black pepper, and honey. Divide the mixture into individual dipping bowls, one for each person.

Rinse, press, and dry the tofu, then cut into 1/2 inch strips. In a wide mixing bowl, mix well the nutritional yeast, flower, salt, and pepper. Gently toss the tofu in the mixture, taking care not to break apart the strips . Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and pour into it enough vegetable oil to fill to 1/4 inch. The oil is ready when adding a small piece of tofu causes the oil to sizzle without browning the tofu too quickly. Add the strips by carefully slipping them in one at a time into the oil. Turn the tofu with a pair of tongs or cooking chopsticks halfway through cooking, about 2-3 minutes. After another 2-3 minutes all sides of the tofu should be golden brown. Transfer the tofu, in a single layer, to a plate lined with several thicknesses of paper towel. Pat the tofu strips with another paper towel to remove excess oil. After cooling for a minute, transfer to a serving platter.

When the oil for the tofu is coming to temperature, place a grill pan brushed with a small amount of vegetable oil over high heat. The pan should be smoking hot when adding, one at a time, the cleaned, washed, and dried scallions. Grill the onions, turning occasionally, until they soften and char marks begin to form. Place on a serving dish when done.

Serve the fried tofu and grilled scallion as soon as they are ready. Guests can fill individual lettuces leaves by passing the tofu, scallion, and other toppings. Wrap the lettuce around the fillings and dip in sauce.

| November 14th, 2012 | Posted in Recipes |

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