It all started with a sauce, or should I say, the memory of a sauce… I recently had a craving for a Thai dish that I haven’t had since going vegan. I’m being generous when I say that I was craving the “dish”, because in actuality, the sauce is the only thing that has stuck in my mind. It’s bright and herbaceous and spicy and funky. With my flavor memory, and the help of Google, I’m pretty sure I’ve been able to approximate the sauce enough to satisfy my palate for whenever I get that craving again. As I vehicle for the sauce, I have also created an easy mushroom and tofu filling for making lettuce wraps. Sub out the mushrooms and tofu for other veggies or proteins of your choice, or serve over rice, if you’re wanting a dish that’s a bit more hearty.
P.S. This dish is pretty much gluten and oil free if those are qualities you’re looking for in a recipe.
- Vegan “Waterfall” Sauce (recipe below)
- Mushroom and tofu filling (recipe below)
- Butter or iceberg Lettuce for cupping
- or jasmine rice for bowling
- Chopped, roasted and salted peanuts
- Thinly sliced and seeded cucumber
Vegan “Waterfall” Sauce:
- ⅓ cup vegan fish sauce (recipe below)
- The juice from 1 lime
- ¼ cup very thinly sliced green onion (white and green parts)
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves (optional)
- 1 clove of garlic, pressed or finely minced
- 1 tablespoon Sambal Olek
- 2 teaspoons of granulated vegan sugar or equivalent amount of liquid sweetener.
- Chopped, roasted and salted peanuts (optional)
In a bowl or liquid measuring cup, dissolve the sugar into the vegan fish sauce and lime juice. Add the remaining ingredients, reserving the peanuts, and stir. Make this sauce about 20 minutes before you plan on serving, so the flavors can mingle, but yet is still fresh. Srir in the peanuts right before serving, or just sprinkle peanuts on top of the final dish. After a few hours the acid in the limes will cause the herbs to brown, and they flavors will be off.
Vegan Fish Sauce: (Inspired by Feasting at Home’s recipe)
- 4 cups of filtered water
- ¼ cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (gluten-free), or soy sauce
- ¼ ounce of dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 half sheet of toasted nori
- 1 tablespoon of salt
Add all of the ingredients into a pot, and allow them to come up to a boil. Turn off the stove, and allow to steep for a an hour or two. Return the pot to a boil, and then allow the liquid to reduce to two cups. Strain with a fine mesh strainer, reserving the deliciously flavorful and textured mushrooms. Store in the fridge until ready to use. Note: if you over-reduce, just add a bit more water until it reaches 2 cups.
Mushroom and Tofu Filling:
- 10 ounces of mushrooms, roughly chopped into ½ inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon of oil for sauteing (optional)
- 3 ounces of baked tofu, diced. (You could use firm tofu if baked is not available)
- 2 tablespoons vegan fish sauce (recipe above)
- 2 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (gluten-free), or soy sauce
- 1 to 2 cloves of garlic, pressed or finely minced
- 1 small carrot, julienned.
Combine the Bragg’s, vegan fish sauce, and garlic in a bowl; set aside.
Add the chopped mushrooms to a lightly oiled pan on high heat. Toss the mushrooms occasionally so that they don’t burn, but allow them to cook for a few minutes without disturbing them so that they can get a bit of color. When the mushrooms have reduced by about half, and they seem to be browned on most sides, add the diced tofu. Turn the heat down to medium and saute until the tofu has browned. Add the carrots, and saute for another minute before adding the Bragg’s and vegan fish sauce mixture. Reduce the heat to low, and cook until all of the liquid is gone, and the carrots have softened slightly.
Scoop a generous helping of the filling into a lettuce cup, or over a bowl of rice. Spoon on the waterfall sauce, and then garnish with thinly sliced cucumber, and chopped peanuts. Devour!