Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Thai Lemongrass Tofu Tacos with a Lime-Sriracha Aioli & Basil-Cucumber Salsa

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These are not the most photogenic tacos in the world but they are damn amazing.
These tacos came into our lives about a week ago when our darling friend and cookbook author Marta Holmberg posted this photo of Vegan Vietnamese Tacos made by The Mandoline Grill in Los Angeles. They had a strange combination of delicious things and being a bit ugly on the eyes. We're friends here. So we can be honest -- pink food can be hard to photograph.

But I really hope that you'll give these messy,spicy, savory and smokey tacos a try because they're more than worth the short amount of time it takes to make them (if you don't count marinading) and that rosy sauce is amazing on veggie burgers *, steamed artichokes, and with carrots sticks and really anything. Yes -- even corn on the cob. It's really a beautiful thing - even if it's pink**.

Now you might be wondering what makes these Thai tacos rather than Vietnamese like the originals.Well I am neither Thai or Vietnamese so my take on these cuisines comes mostly from restaurants and research. Both cuisines do share a lot of the same key ingredients like lemongrass, coconut milk, rice and noodles. Although Sriracha sauce is Vietnamese, my experience is that Vietnamese food is not as spicy as Thai and these tacos are actually really fiery. I mean they're hot.

I also added Thai basil, cucumbers and lime to the salsa recipe to add a freshness and a citrusy bite to keep the Lime-Sriracha Aioli from over powering everything with it's awesomeness. But really does that make it more Thai than Vietnamese? Hard to say.

So I guess -- long story short -- They might be dressed in pink but they kick ass. 

Thai Lemongrass Tofu Tacos with a Lime-Sriracha Aioli and Basil-Cucumber Salsa
Tofu Tacos
  • 2 Packages Extra Firm Tofu (drained)
  • 2-3 Stalks Fresh Lemongrass (sliced)
  • 2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Braggs Liquid Amino Acids
  • 1/3 Cup Better Than Bouillon - Vegan Beef Broth (made per instructions on the package)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chili Powder (optional - if you don't like it SO HOT)
  • 6-8 8inch Whole Wheat Tortillas (warmed in the oven per instructions on package)
  • 6-8 Baby Bok Choy Leaves
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro (chopped)
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray
Lime-Sriracha Aioli
Basil-Cucumber Salsa
  • 3 Large Fresh Tomatoes (diced)
  • 1/2 Red Onion (diced)
  • 1/2 Cucumber (diced)
  • 3 Cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Thai Basil (minced)
  • 1 Fresh Jalapeno (minced)
  • 3 Tablespoons Lime Juice
  • ½ teaspoon Crushed Pink Himalayan Salt

First blend Sesame Oil, Braggs, Broth, Onion Powder and Cumin in a large mixing bowl with a whisk. Once your Onion Powder and Cumin is blended in, toss in your Lemongrass to make your marinade. Cut your drained Tofu into thin slices and lay them in an even layer in a lasagna dish. You might not be able to do it in a single layer. Pour your marinade over the top and cover with foil. Put in the fridge to chill out for 2 hours. During that time you may have to rotate your Tofu slices so that your slices are marinaded evenly.

Then make your Basil-Cucumber Salsa. Toss all your Salsa ingredients in a large bowl and toss. Cover the bowl and refrigerate it for at least an hour.

Then make your Lime-Sriracha Aioli. Add all your Aioli ingredients in a large mixing bowl and blend with an electric hand held mixer until smooth. Cover your bowl and put in the fridge until you're ready to serve.

Once your Tofu is done marinading, spray a light coating of Olive Oil Cooking Spray over your cast iron grill pan or skillet and heat over a medium heat. Once your skillet is hot, move your marinaded tofu slices to the grill pan to make one even layer. You're going to want to cook these in batches. Don't crowd your Tofu or they won't brown as nicely. Use a large spoon to pour a little marinade over the top of each slice of Tofu.  Let your Tofu get a nice light brown sear along the edges of the bottom before flipping them. If you're using a grill pan -- remember you only want to flip your tofu once to make sure you get those clean grill lines so it's good to be patient and let your Tofu brown. Also expect a lot of steam from the marinade coming off the Tofu. This will also help cook your Tofu.

In a large bowl, toss your Bok Choy Leaves. Once your Tofu is cooked, toss the browned pieces into the bowl over the Bok Choy Leaves to help wilt or slightly cook them. Any hot marinade coming off the Tofu will also help cook your Bok Choy so please don't drain any extra liquids off. Spray another coating of Cooking Spray over your hot skillet and sear up your next batch of Tofu. Once all your Tofu is cooked, you're ready to eat!

To build your taco just add one leaf of Bok Choy and some Tofu to a warm Tortilla and top with Aioli, Salsa and fresh Cilantro.

Pretty easy if not pretty. Also don't forget the napkins -- this is a messy jerk to eat but worth it.

* We made the best avocado & lime-sraracha aioli burgers and it was seriously dreamy.

** I know some of you are dying to make pink taco jokes. I would ask you to keep them classy but how would that work?


  1. that salsa sounds so delicious! and i love a pink taco:) haha

  2. I love the idea of "smokey" tacos with lemongrass - genius!

  3. Sitting here stuffing my face with curry - my favorite food - but oddly wishing I had some of those tacos. WITH LEMONGRASS! Want. Now.

  4. Seems like almost everything's better with lemmongrass or cilantro on it, in it, around it, beside it, or underneath it!! Heh..heh..heh..
    I LOVE IT!!