My mom was mad at me the other day.
Because of me, she was buying expensive things in the grocery store.
I know I buy some pricy ingredients, but a little goes a long way. I try not to eat out too often, and find it hard to rationalize the high prices. I could buy so much fresh (expensive) produce, tempeh, and spices for the price of a meal in a restaurant. It can be hard to justify sometimes.
Anyways, back to the mangoes. When I was home last weekend for the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour (aka the ultimate cycle), my mom had picked up some mangoes for breakfast. Rob and I stole some of the extras to fuel us later in the week.
After really enjoying the Chickpea Salad with Mexican Mango Dressing earlier, I wanted to try a variation of the mango dressing with ginger. Earlier, I had bookmarked this tantalizing Thai lettuce wrap with sesame-soy baked tempeh and a zippy mango ginger sauce in The 30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of the East (recipe here).
I adapted the recipe slightly, causing it to take more than 30 minutes to make, but I think that steaming tempeh is important. Since steaming in the microwave is so simple, I try not to forget that step.
Initially I was a bit disappointed, because the sauce was really zippy. Almost overpowering, but I was so pleased with the leftovers. Finally, a tempeh dish, a salad at that, that tastes great as leftovers!
First the sauce: fresh mango was pureed with freshly grated ginger, along with lime juice and soy sauce. I also added a touch of chili flakes, but add to taste since the ginger is fairly zingy. I found this mellowed out much better the next day. It still had a kick but not as pungent. Just whirl in your blender and you have a fabulous sauce.
Next, the tempeh is marinaded in a simple sesame oil and soy sauce marinade, and feel free to marinade it as long as possible. I was only able to marinade it for 5 minutes, but longer is always better. After baking, the marinade was completely absorbed. The steaming helped to keep the tempeh pieces moist, even as leftovers. Because the mango sauce is the main star of the wrap, the loss of sauce around the tempeh is not detrimental to the dish (which had been our problem previously).
Those are the main ingredients to the wrap. Next find yourself some large Romaine lettuce leaves, top with cucumber, sliced tomatoes, some chopped mint, add your tempeh, slather with the mango sauce, wrap, roll and eat! For the wrap in the photo, my eyes were bigger than my mouth, and I had to split it into two wraps for all that filling! 😛
I also like the idea of tossing the dressing with zucchini noodles, as in this Mint and Mango Marinated Zucchini Spaghetti. This dressing would need to be thinned out a bit with water if you wanted to use it overtop a traditional lettuce salad.
Thai Tempeh Lettuce Wraps with Mango Ginger Sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp agave nectar or maple syrup, optional
12 large lettuce leaves (6 Swiss chard leaves would work well here, too)
1/2 cucumber, sliced
1 tomato, small wedges
12 fresh mint leaves, optional
1/2 mango, chopped (1/2 cup) – I used more like 3/4 cup
1 tbsp minced or grated fresh ginger
Pinch chili flakes
1 tbsp water
1.5 tsp fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp soy sauce, to taste
agave nectar or maple syrup, to taste (did not add any)
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Begin by steaming your tempeh: Place the tempeh in a microwave-safe dish with half a cup of water. Cover it with a lid and microwave on high for 5-6 minutes. Drain any excess water. Slice the tempeh into 12 half-inch slices, and then in half again.
3. While the tempeh is steaming, prepare your marinade: place the soy sauce, water, sesame oil and agave nectar in a small casserole dish and whisk well. Add the tempeh and mix well with the marinade. Lay the tempeh in a single layer in the baking dish. Any extra time to marinade the tempeh is always good. When ready, place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, flipping half-way through.
4. While the tempeh is cooking, prepare the mango ginger sauce by placing all of the ingredients (mango, ginger, chili flakes, water, lime juice and soy sauce) in a food processor and blend until smooth. Adjust the quantity of chili flakes to your taste. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
5. Prepare the fixings and place them on a platter. When the tempeh is done (mine had absorbed all the marinade), place it alongside the fixings or on its own plate. To assemble, take a lettuce leaf, top with tempeh and fillings, roll it up and dip into sauce. personally, I drizzled the sauce into the roll.