Vietnamese Tofu Lettuce Cups
with spicy pickled cucumbers / ginger rice
Smarts: The pickled cucumbers in this meal are a salsa-meets-sauce topping. Be sure to dice the cucumbers small so you get some in every bite. You can make it ahead of time (including adding the peanuts which will also get “pickled”) or make it right before serving for a more crunchy, fresh texture.
- Tofu, extra-firm - 16 oz, finely chopped or crumbled (vacuum-packed preferable)
- Ginger, fresh (opt) - 1 tsp, grated
- Lemongrass - 2 stalks, finely chopped
- Garlic - 3 cloves, chopped
- Soy sauce, low-sodium - 1 1/2 Tbsp
- Honey - 1 1/2 Tbsp
- Lettuce, romaine - 12 leaves (sub bibb lettuce or iceberg)
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Cucumbers - 8 oz, finely chopped (preferably English or other seedless cucumbers)
- Mint - 1 Tbsp, chopped
- Soy sauce, low-sodium - 2 tsp
- Vinegar, rice - 2 tsp
- Chili-garlic sauce - 1 1/2 tsp, more to taste
- Sugar - 2 tsp
- Peanuts - 1/3 cup
- Rice, uncooked white or brown - 1 cup
- Ginger, fresh - 1 tsp, grated
- Oil, toasted sesame - 1 tsp
- Rice - For white rice, rinse until clear. Fill a saucepan or Dutch oven (or rice cooker) with rice, water (use 2:1 ratio for water to rice), and some salt. Cover with lid and bring to a boil. Once water boils, stir, lower heat to a low-medium, and cover. Check white rice after ~20 min; brown at ~45 min. Rice is done when it's absorbed all the water. If it's not done, leave the cover on until all water has been absorbed. Take cover off to release steam and fluff with a wooden spoon after 5 minutes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Tofu - If tofu is packaged in water, press out liquid first, like in this video. Then finely chop or crumble with your hands. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
- Ginger (portion for lettuce cups) / Lemongrass / Garlic - Prep as directed and combine. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Make sauce - Combine ginger, lemongrass, garlic, soy sauce (portion for lettuce cups), and honey. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Lettuce / Ginger (portion for rice) / Cucumbers / Mint - Prep as directed.
- Make pickled cucumbers - Combine cucumbers, mint, soy sauce (portion for cucumbers), vinegar, chili-garlic sauce, and white sugar. Stir in peanuts (if you want them to have more crunch, you can wait to add them until right before serving). (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Heat a wok or large skillet with cooking oil over medium heat. Add chopped / crumbled tofu and saute until any extra liquid is cooked out and tofu is starting to turn golden brown in places, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Pour sauce over tofu and cook until sauce has reduced and coats tofu, 3 to 5 minutes more. If you’d like it to be spicy, stir in some hot sauce or red pepper flakes (not on ingredients list) at the end of cooking.
- If rice was made ahead, reheat in the microwave. Stir in ginger (portion for rice) and toasted sesame oil. Season with some salt or soy sauce (not in ingredients list) if you’d like.
- Fill lettuce cups with tofu mixture. You can use some of the ginger rice and pickled cucumbers as fillings for the lettuce cups and / or serve them on the side. Enjoy!
Made with zucchini spears instead of asaparagus and chicken thighs subbed for porks. Marinade was delicious, cucumber salad was so good, ginger sesame rice really added a nice touch. Huge fan!!1 Helpful
Easy dinner and very good. I really liked the cucumbers0 Helpful
This was so delicious! Each part was yummy.0 Helpful
Very good. I made original version and a vegetarian version. Both came out really good. For vegetarian I used portabella mushrooms instead of pork chops and marinated then the same as the pork.0 Helpful
This was awesome! The flavor was so good and caught us so off guard. I went ready on the finger in the rice and I should not have. This meal packs a ton of flavor and you need to reload all of it. Oh, and go easy on the Chili-garlic. 1.5 tsp is too much for the cucumbers0 Helpful
Excellent, this is SO SO SO good. The pickled cucumbers and its juice IS AWESOME, especially on rice. The pork marinade was also awesome, and glad we took the time to use the BBQ. Top 5 for us.0 Helpful
I loved this meal and I could eat that ginger rice every day.0 Helpful