• TOFU
  • 1 package extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 1/4 cup white miso
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup stout beer
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • Pinch of black pepper
  •  
  • DAIKON/CARROT SLAW
  • 1 medium/large daikon
  • 2 small carrots
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  •  
  • OTHER
  • 1 cup good quality sushi rice
  • Burrito-sized flour tortillas
  • 1 green onion stalk

Today’s culinary inspiration is adapted from the folks at feeding my ohana - after my friend Dave posted a link to their version of a Sam Choy dish on Facebook, I knew I wanted to make it TheOccasionalVegan-style.

Rather than chicken, I marinated well-pressed tofu and then threw it on the grill. Afterwards, I layered it in a flour tortilla with some freshly-cooked sushi rice, a little extra of the marinade, and green onions. To help offset all of the soft textures, I whipped up some daikon and carrot slaw for a much-needed crunch and tart offset. After the recipe, I’ll share some additional tips/notes on other things I’ll try next time.

Marinate the tofu

  1. Press the tofu between two plates, with weight added to the top (cookbooks, other dishes, anything!). It’s very important to do this for at least 30 minutes to help remove the tofu’s water. Drain occasionally.
  2. Cut the tofu into 1/4 inch slices (cut vertically on the SHORT side of the tofu, not the long side. See grill pics below)
  3. Mix all marinade ingredients with a whisk. You can use either crunchy or smooth peanut butter, but make sure to use white or yellow miso, not red.
  4. Pour half of the marinade into the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish, spread evenly. Lay tofu slices over the top in a single layer, and pour the other half on top. Make sure each piece is coated.
  5. Allow marinade to seep in as long as possible – at least 1 hour. Overnight is probably best (haven’t tried this myself)

marinade

 

Make the slaw
daikon slaw

  1. Ensure that the carrots and daikon are julienned in similar sized pieces, around 1.5 to 2 inches long. Make sure you only use the bottom end of the daikon – daikons have a different taste and use depending on the area. The bottom part (away from the greens) is peppery and similar to radish. The part near the greens is tougher and lends itself well to slow poaching and cooking for Japanese stews. You want roughly the same amount of carrot as daikon.
  2. Add the red onion to the daikon/carrot mixture in a non-reactive bowl
  3. Bring vinegar and sugar to a boil, just until the sugar dissolves. Pour mixture over the slaw and mix
  4. Allow the slaw to marinate as long as possible for the best possible flavor (put into fridge, covered, if it’ll be awhile)

daikon slaw

Get the other ingredients ready

  1. Cook the 1 cup of rice with the corresponding amount of water in a good rice cooker
  2. Cut green part of green onion on a bias for best visual look

Finish it up

Once the tofu has marinated for awhile, grill it on medium heat, a few minutes each side, till there’s gorgeous grill marks.

tofu, grill style

tofu, post-grill

Assemble the wrap by layering around 1/3rd to a 1/2 cup of rice, 4 slices of tofu, 1/4 to 1/3rd cup of slaw, a very small dollop of extra marinade ( or leave it off, depending on how strong you want it), and dusting of green onions. Roll like a burrito and enjoy.

asian tofu wrap, pre-rolled!

asian tofu wrap, constructed!

Notes and tips

  1. I’m not usually a fan of a lot of rice in a wrap. Here, it’s pretty important, so don’t skimp on it. The marinade has a strong flavor, as does the slaw, and the rice is great for grounding that
  2. Though the tofu is tasty and has a lot of flavor, I personally prefer it a lot chewier. The marinade has so much flavor in it that next time, I’ll probably try cooking the tofu like we do for pad thai (pressed, put onto parchment in a hot oven with olive oil, and allowed to cook until very chewy). While that method won’t infuse the tofu with marinade, adding the sauce into the wrap I think would be a really good combo and the tofu would be a much better texture.
  3. If you don’t have access to daikon, buying pre-bagged coleslaw is probably an acceptable substitute, though it won’t be as crunchy and coleslaw gets soft really quick.