Caramelized Tofu Lettuce Cups

This simple tofu recipe is big on flavour and perfect for the reluctant tofu eater. Sweet, sour, and salty, these lettuce cups are ripe for improvisation and can be served with all sorts of accompaniments.

                           caramelized tofu lettuce wraps


  • (14-oz.) block firm tofu, drained
  • 1/4 c. reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce (optional)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1" fresh ginger, minced
  • cloves garlic, minced
  • Butterhead or romaine lettuce, leaves separated, for serving
  • Cilantro leaves, for serving
  • Chopped roasted peanuts, for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving

                       caramelized tofu lettuce wraps


    1. Wrap tofu in a clean kitchen towel or paper towels and place on a cutting board. Place a heavy flat object on top of tofu (like a skillet or baking sheet) and weigh it down with cans or another skillet. Let tofu drain for at least 15 minutes, and up to 45 minutes.
    2. Crumble tofu into a medium bowl using your fingers. The biggest pieces should be about the size of a pea.
    3. In another medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and fish sauce, if using. (It’s OK if the sugar doesn’t dissolve completely; it will once added to the pan.)
    4. In a large cast-iron skillet or nonstick pan over medium-high heat, heat vegetable oil until shimmering. Add tofu, shake into an even layer, and let cook undisturbed until deeply golden on the bottom, about 5 minutes.
    5. Stir the tofu and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the tofu is crispy and golden throughout, about 4 minutes more. Add ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
    6. Add soy mixture to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until no liquid remains, about 3 minutes more.
    7. Add heaping spoonfuls of tofu mixture to the center of each lettuce leaf. Top with cilantro leaves, peanuts, and a squeeze of lime before serving.

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