The last time I went to the local health-food store, I bought a new ingredient that I had been curious to try: Tempeh.
Tempeh, which is made of fermented soybeans, is a vegetarian source of protein and a great substitute for meat in quite a few dishes.
The store only had a few varieties of tempeh in the cooler, and I chose a sesame-and-garlic-marinated variety. I knew exactly what I wanted to make with it: Asian lettuce wraps.
I order lettuce wraps at restaurants from time to time, and I never thought they were that difficult to make. I proved that in my kitchen last night.
Here’s the recipe:
2 tablespoons peanut flour
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon agave nectar
Juice of half a lime
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 block sesame-garlic tempeh
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 head Bibb lettuce, leaves separated
2/3 cup shredded carrots
2/3 cup bean sprouts
Sesame seeds, for garnish
In a small bowl, combine peanut flour, soy sauce, sesame oil, agave nectar, lime juice and garlic and whisk until combined. (Note: If you don’t have peanut flour, you could use peanut butter, but then you probably should omit the sesame oil. You might also want to warm up the peanut butter to make it easier to whisk into a sauce.) Set aside.
In a large, nonstick skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Place tempeh strips in skillet and heat until browned, about 2 minutes. Turn tempeh strips and heat until other side is browned, about another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cut into bite-sized pieces.
To assemble wraps, place lettuce leaves on plate and top each one with tempeh, carrots, bean sprouts, peanut sauce and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
I made these with grilled chicken for Christopher, and he loved them.
I used half the tempeh for my wraps, and I loved it. (I have the rest saved for a salad this week.) It has a great taste and a texture similar to ground meat, such as turkey, which is what I might have used if I didn’t have the tempeh.
I think the citrus-peanut sauce made the dish, though. It was so easy to make, I might be throwing it on everything (like that salad)…and using it to create a spicy peanut noodle dish soon.
I haven’t had the wraps at PF Chang’s, but I gotta believe mine are pretty darn tasty—and much less expensive.