Recipe - Tofu Mushroom Lettuce Wraps

It's a bit funny how I had never heard of lettuce wraps being an Asian dish until I first stepped foot into a fast-casual Asian-inspired restaurant many years back. Then I seemed to see it everywhere, this dish of saucy cubed stir-fry that made a mess when wrapped in the hand by a mere vegetable "paper" but was quite tasty. It's a salad without the chopping of the greens in a sense! So I made a tofu and mushroom version one night using some tasty ingredients we had procured at a farmers' market. This vegetarian (and I guess also vegan if you use vegetarian "oyster" sauce!) recipe brought a lot of bright colors to the table from all of the produce. It's a bit simple to make too but packed with a lot of flavor. If you don't feel like eating this wrapped in lettuce, you could also just have this over a healthful bowl of brown rice.

Step 1: Ingredients (yields 4-6 servings)

  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 cup red radish, bulbs only and quartered
  • 6 multicolored sweet peppers, de-seeded and sliced
  • 3 cups large king mushrooms, cubed
  • 1 package (12-14 oz) tofu, extra firm and cubed
  • 1 knob ginger, julienned
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup green onions, greens only and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsps oyster sauce
  • 1 Tbsp garlic chili sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • lettuce, for wrapping

Step 2: Prepping ingredients
There's a lot of slicing and chopping involved here. Do the garlic and radish first so you can get them hot first. Slice garlic and start to fry in a large skillet with oil. Add radish. Slice up peppers after removing seeds and cube the mushrooms; place in one bowl. In a separate area, squeeze out all of the tofu's excess liquid before slicing into cubes approximately 1/2" in size.

Step 3: Stir-frying ingredients
Add in sweet peppers and mushrooms to the radish and garlic once the radish starts to turn translucent. The mushrooms will release water so stir around until most of the water has evaporated. Then add tofu, green onion, ginger, and cashew.

Step 4: Finishing
In another bowl, mix together honey, oyster sauce, soy sauce, olive oil, garlic chili sauce, and sesame seeds. Once tofu starts to brown a little, pour sauce over entire mixture. Stir well to incorporate. Then enjoy with freshly washed lettuce.

Photography by Duc Duong.