Summertime is finally in full swing, I often crave something cool, crunchy, and spicy. I also crave something that requires not one btu of stove time. So, to build in some real interest and flavor to a simple, cool dish, I often resort to condiments.
Yes, the right ready-mades in your fridge can make an instant meal that’s packed with depth and intensity. In my case, I had a jar of locally made hot and spicy kim chee, and the hot sauce that is coming up fast on the heels of sriracha, a Korean paste called Gochujang.
Gochujang ia different from most hot sauces in that it is made from chiles that are mixed with glutinous rice ,sweetener, soy flour, and sometimes other seasonings, then fermented. What emerges from this fermentation is a sweet, funky hot sauce with just enough heat. One taste and you will be hooked.
I got my tub of Gochujang at the Asian market, but I am seeing artisanal versions around, too. It’s a great addition to all sorts of dishes, from Asian soups and salads to barbecue sauce or sandwiches.
In this easy wrap, I used another secret ingredient, Wildwood Tofu Aioli. I don’t usually buy tofu mayos, but this one arrived at my Coop and I just had to try it. I love Wildwood Tofu, and I had a nice 10 oz chunk of their extra firm sprouted tofu, so I just diced up the tofu with a few scallions and the aioli. Piling it on a lettuce leaf with kimchee, avocado, pea shoots and a smear of gochujang, well, I must say, was delicious.
It may not be an authentic Korean old school dish, but it sure hit the spot after a day of gardening.
Korean-Inspired Tofu Lettuce Wraps with Gochujang
If I wanted to gild the lily, I might sliver some nori or toast some sesame to sprinkle on this. Let each diner make her own, balancing the flavors and heat to her own palate.
Serves 4, maybe
1 head leaf or bibb lettuce
10 ounces extra firm tofu, diced in small cubes
6 tablespoons tofu aioli or mayo
3 scallions, chopped
a cup or so of kim chee
1 couple of handfuls of tender pea shoots
1 large avocado, diced in the shell then scooped
Gochujang to taste
1. Wash and dry the lattuce, removing the bottom parts of the stems. Combine the tofu, aioli and scallions in a bowl and toss. Prep the pea shoots and avocado. Build each warp with a few spoonfuls of tofu, a spoonful of kim chee, a few sprouts, and a spoonful of avocado dice. Spoon a little gochujang on top, or put int on the plate, so you can roll up the leaf and dip it in the gochujang.