|Posted on August 3, 2012 at 7:00 AM|
This dish combines my mom’s Korean lettuce wraps (made with rice and a little beef bulgogi) with the Chinese lettuce cups that are so popular in restaurants right now. The result is a dish that’s perfect for a warm summer evening. Cool crunchy lettuce is filled with a flavorful mixture of turkey and tofu, rice, and sweet and spicy gochujang*. (More on gochujang and where to find it at the bottom of this post.)
I had three goals when developing this recipe:
1) Reduce the amount of meat in the dish by substituting tofu for half. It’s better for my family’s health and better for the environment.
2) Create a summer dish that spends most of its time in the slow cooker. Wait, don’t tell me you’re only using your slow cooker to make hearty winter stews! The slow cooker is great for summer use because it won’t heat up your kitchen the way your stove and oven will.
3) Reduce the sugar and sodium in the dish by skipping hoisin sauce and opting for low-sodium soy sauce.
8-10 oz ground turkey or chicken
1 tsp oil
12 oz firm tofu
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-tsp fresh ginger, minced
¼ cup soy sauce (I prefer low-sodium)
¼ rice WINE vinegar (also known as Aji-Mirin)
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp gochujang*, plus more for serving (you can substitute Sriracha sauce)
2 tbsp brown sugar, packed
5 ounce can water chestnuts, chopped
1-2 heads of bibb or Boston lettuce, washed and leaves separated.
2-3 cups of cooked white rice
1) Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, coat with oil, and brown the turkey. Break the turkey down into smaller chunks. Add the tofu, garlic, and ginger. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to break up the tofu into chunks that are similar in size to the turkey. Place turkey-tofu mixture into slow cooker.
Peeling ginger is easy when you use a spoon to scrap the skin off.
2) In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, gochuhang, and brown sugar. Whisk to combine, ensuring gochujang and brown sugar has dissolved. Pour over the turkey-tofu mixture in the slow cooker and stir to combine.
3) Set slow cooker on low for 3-4 hours or on high for 2 hours.
4) In the last 30 minutes of cooking, stir in the water chestnuts. Finish cooking.
Heap a spoonful of rice and turkey-tofu into the lettuce cup. Smear a little gochujang on top. (Or you can thin the gochujang with water and place it in a small squeeze bottle.) Wrap and eat!
* Gochujang is a sweet and spicy paste used as condiment in Korean cooking. It’s made from rice, soy beans, and red pepper powder. You can find it in most Asian markets with other non-refrigerated condiments. It’s usually sold in little red tubs like you see below. Look carefully at the spice rating on the side of the tub. I like to use level 3, medium-hot.
Categories: Fresh and Light Food