Tofu I had seen plenty and have even bought and cooked with it a few times. But this was the first time I stumbled across tempeh. I knew exactly what I would make with it.
Have you ever had the lettuce wraps at PF Chang's? Most people -- including myself -- love them. I used to get Cooking Light magazine and they had a recipe for Thai Chicken lettuce wraps in the magazine. I had whipped those up on a few occasions and the went over well. So I decided to make a vegetarian version using the tempeh.
I made them for a family barbeque and everyone loved them. No one even knew they lacked meat. Before I knew it, the bowl was empty and only a few stray lettuce leaves remained.
This weekend I made another batch to have as lunches through the week. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
Thai Un-chick Lettuce Wraps(adapted from Cooking Light)
1 T sesame oil
1 T olive oil (EVOO)
8 to 12 oz tempeh
1 can water chestnuts
3 stalks celery
2 or 3 carrots
1 bell pepper
½ of a medium red onion
½ c raw cashews
1 T minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T chopped cilantro
juice of 2 limes
1 T fish sauce
1 T mirin
1-2 T rice wine vinegar
1 to 2 T tamari
dash of sriracha sauce
lettuce leaves of your choice (Bibb, Iceberg, Kale, Radicchio, etc)
chopped scallions for garnish
1. Pulse tempeh in food processor until it’s roughly the size of peas. Remove from processor.
2. Give a quick, rough chop to the celery, carrots, pepper and onion and toss them into the processor. Pulse a few times to chop them up, then add the water chestnuts and cashews and pulse a few more times.
3. Combine the next 9 ingredients (ginger through sriracha) in a small bowl.
4. Heat a large frying pan or wok and add your oils. Add tempeh, nuts and veggies and sauté for 5 minutes; add sauce mixture and sauté until the veggies are cooked to your desired consistency.
5. You can add the scallions, or serve on the side and garnish individually. Serve warm, family style, letting each diner make his own wrap.