Saturday, May 19, 2018

Instant Pot Vegan Tofu Lettuce Wraps

A Vegan friendly version of Lettuce Wraps; this Instant Pot recipe is SUPER yum, easy and great for two or a crowd! 


Do you LOVE lettuce wraps? Looking for an easy way to make them at home? Plus a vegetarian version that is super yummy? Bring out you Instant Pot and make a batch right away! 

I have been a fan of lettuce wraps for a while. Having tried it at various restaurants I have a few things I like about them as a dish: A super yummy saucy appetizer that everyone on the table likes, the truckload of lettuce I consume not realizing how 'boring' I thought salad was, the simplest appetizer to pull of for a party that can be made in advance and the guests do a DIY serving them!

Given all these advantages I like to make a BIG lot of the tofu and mushroom filling and use it several times in the week. The biggest problem with that happened to be how uneven the tofu cooks in regular woks. I thought my instant pot would cook it all evenly and YES, that actually happened! I made the dish with diced tofu instead of crumbled and the result was fabulous! I have been using my IP to do this ever since, bye bye wok! 


My love story with the dish has been rather strange. The FIRST time we ordered this at a restaurant I was thinking they would serve it like Vietnamese Spring Rolls. But when the platter came to the table it was JUST a bowl full of tofu, a stack of lettuce leaves and dipping sauce! I was so surprised that it was a DIY that I was not sure I like it. 

However, it tasted SO good that now this dish makes an appearance in my parties, for weeknight dinner and restaurant visits! And with me wanting to perfect the recipe using the IP, I made it SO MANY TIMES! But who's complaining? We ate more lettuce with this recipe than ever before!  


Variations

Coming to the recipe, I have made a few changes from the regular wrap recipes. First, this has diced tofu and not crumbled. Next I pressure cooked the entire batch to get that PERFECT melt in the mouth tofu. I added mushrooms for a meaty texture and they work really well. Not a fan? Just skip them and make the recipe. If using, I recommend using the brown ones. They are super good, I promise! 

The sauce I used is from peanut butter. It is not one of the jarred ones. It is purely crushed peanuts in a food processor till they are almost perfectly smooth. I use that in my recipes as both of us are not very big fans of the bottled ones. 


You can make the same recipe using your favorite meat too. I want to try it using paneer or seitan once! If you are a tofu fan like me, here are some more recipes that you will love: 


Do not have an Instant Pot?

While I must say this is my favorite gadget, if you are not on the bandwagon yet, do not worry. Make the same recipe in a wok and cook covered for 10-12 minutes on medium flame. If you like your tofu pieces browned up, increase the flame a little bit. 

I have made the same recipe in the wok several times before I got the Instant Pot and it does work pretty well! 


Have an Instant Pot?

If you are looking for more IP recipes, here are a few from my blog. I hope you enjoy them as much as I like posting about them! 


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Ingredients

For the Wraps

Firm Tofu 1 block (14 oz)
Brown Mushrooms 7-8, diced
Peanut butter 2 tbsp
Garlic 2 cloves, minced
Ginger 1 piece grated
Spring Onion whites 1/4 cup, chopped
Tamari (Soy Sauce for non vegan) 1 tbsp
Rice Vinegar 1 tsp
Chilli sauce/ Sriracha 1/2 tsp
Vegetable/Sesame Oil 1 tsp
Chilli oil 1 tsp
Salt 1 tsp
Sugar 1/4 tsp
Lettuce leaves a bunch
Spring Onion Greens and cilantro to top 
Sesame seeds as required

For the dipping sauce

Peanut Butter 2 tbsp
Vinegar 1/4 tsp
Chilli sauce 1/2 tsp
Tamari (Soy Sauce for non vegan) 1/4 tsp
Sugar 1/4 tsp



Method

Press the firm tofu between paper towels and remove all the water. Dice into small cubes. Set aside. 

In a small bowl mix together the ingredients under the wrap; soy sauce, chilli sauce, peanut butter, vinegar, salt and sugar. 

In the base of the Instant Pot add vegetable oil and chilli oil. Set the mode to Saute and Normal. Add garlic and ginger, mix well. Saute for a couple of minutes till the garlic is flavorful.

Add the spring onion whites and mushrooms. Saute for a minute. Add the diced tofu and mix well. 

Pour in the mixed sauce and 1/2 cup water. Mix the sauce well. 

Press cancel on the Instant Pot. Set mode to pressure cook or manual. Set pressure level to low and time to 3 minutes. Set the vent to sealing and let the tofu cook. 

While the mixture cooks, make the dipping sauce. To do so mix together the ingredients of the dipping sauce in a bowl. Dilute with 3-4 tbsp of water. Set aside. If you like it spicy, drizzle some chilli oil in it.

Once the Instant Pot timer is done, do a quick release. Open the pot and add cilantro, spring onion greens and sesame seeds. Mix well.



To serve, separate the leaves from your favorite type of lettuce and keep them in ice cold water for 10-15 minutes. Add a couple of spoons of the tofu mixture and drizzle some sauce. Fold and enjoy the wrap! 


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Crispy Tea Time Milk Rusk

Milk rusk; an amazing tea time snack can now be made at home using this recipe. Dunk one in Masala Chai and you WILL finish a dozen I promise! 


Have you tried Milk rusk yet? These toasts have an amazing vanilla flavor; are soft due to the milk and have the great fragrance and taste from the cardamom seeds. If you have not tasted these yet; I bet you are missing out something super delicious! 

Crisp toasts that have a hint of sweetness are PERFECT with Chai or even otherwise. These toasts are sold at local bakeries and in stores as a packet. However, making them at home is the BEST! 


For a very long time I missed the toasts from the bakery in US. Though stores carry the packaged version, I would love a plate full of the bakery ones. So I ended up making a BIG lot myself. Though I must say I overdid it by making about 6 dozens of toasts in one go; but I do not regret it any more. 

Now each time I am making these, I make them in a 9 inch pan and end up with 6 dozens! And I store them in an airtight container for up to a week. The airtight bit is REALLY important else they will become soggy and will need to be rebaked.


If you search for rusk recipes you will be able to find a TON of recipes online; each one made with a slightly different method. Some bake the bread with baking sods, some with yeast and some add milk powder. 

From all the recipes I have tried and tasted; I like the one with fresh milk and yeast the best. They taste just like the ones from the bakery and easily available ingredients and are super easy to make. If you make milk bread or sandwich bread at home; this is just ONE extra step to make! 


If you are a Chai addict like me; here is a great Masala Chai recipe for you. Plus, here are some tea time snacks that are on my list ALL the time:

Coming to the recipe; this rusk recipe needs just 9 ingredients and can be made really easily. I make a big batch and enjoy them over the week. These toasts make a great tea party side and taste awesome with tea. Once you make them; I am sure you will make them again and again. So wait no further and head straight to the recipe! 


Variations

I made the bread in a square pan that made them about 1.5 inches tall and 4.5 inches length. However, if you have sandwich bread pan, use that to make the bread for the rusk. Just the shape might be slightly different but the taste will still be the same. 

If you like tutti-frutti; add some of those in the dough. They make the bread slightly sweet and colorful. When baked again, the toasts studded with tutti-frutti are super awesome! Just make sure you do not bite into a hot one; the tutti-frutti might burn you!

If you would like to make the rusk with wheat flour; replace all purpose flour with wheat flour and essential wheat gluten. They will help make a soft bread that can be used to make perfect rusks. 


Ingredients

All Purpose Flour 3 cups
Milk 1/2 cup
Water 1/4 cup - 1/2 cup
RapidRise Yeast 1 sachet (2 1/4 tsp) 
Cardamom Seeds 1 tsp
Salt 1 tsp
Sugar 3 tsp
Vanilla Extract 1 tsp
Unsalted Butter 3 tbsp (Room Temperature)

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Method

In a bowl add milk and 1/4 cup water. To that add  1 tsp sugar and salt. Mix and heat to warm. When the water milk mixture is warm, add the yeast, mix and rest covered in a warm place. The yeast will bloom in 10 minutes or so.

In a mixing bowl or the base of the stand mixer add the flour, remaining su
gar and vanilla extract. Mix well. Add the unsalted butter, cardamom seeds and bloomed yeast. Mix and make a dough adding warm water as required. Knead it to a smooth dough and keep working on it till soft. Once done, coat with oil or butter and rest covered for an hour in a warm place. 

Meanwhile, line a 9 inch square pan with parchment paper or spray non stick spray. Set aside. After an hour or once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and knead again for 5-7 minutes. Roll the dough out to a square of 9 inches. Place the dough in the bread pan and cover it. Rest for an hour. 

When the hour is almost up, preheat oven to 400 F/ 210 C. Once the loaf rises till the top of the pan, place it in the oven. Bake for 15-18 minutes, till the top is nice and golden. Once it is, remove and cool for 10 minutes. Then transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.



Slice the bread into equal sized slices. I divided the bread into half to get two loaves of 4 1/2 inches length. Then I sliced the loaves into 1/4 inch slices.

Place the slices on a baking tray and bake them in an oven preheated to 400 F/ 210 C. Make sure you turn them over every 7-10 minutes to ensure even baking and prevent burning. 

Remove once the toasts are golden brown and store in an airtight container. Enjoy with some HOT Masala Chai