Crispy Tofu Recipe – Ssam Lettuce Wraps
Ssam is a traditional Korean food where fillings, usually proteins, vegetables and rice, are wrapped in leafy vegetables like lettuce, shiso, seaweeds or cabbage and eaten with ssamjang and kimchi. These little wraps are a fun and delicious way to eat very healthy. Today, we’re excited to bring you our take on Korean ssams. We start with a crispy tofu recipe as the base of our ssam, and then add in red lettuce, pickled beetroot, rice, cucumber, and bean sprouts.
The crispy texture of the fried tofu, along with the freshness of the vegetables and the acidity and sweetness of the pickled beetroot makes for a balanced bite. And feel free to try different types of leaves to wrap your ssam.
You can use this crispy tofu recipe in so many different dishes. It’s a delicious way to enjoy a plant-based, breaded protein. Enjoy it on a sandwich, with your favorite simmer sauce, or straight out of the pan!
Crispy Tofu Recipe Tips:
- If you can’t find ssamjang sauce, you can use sambal oelek or minced garlic mixed with sesame oil.
- You can easily customize this by adding in your favorite veggies. Carrots, bell peppers, and even tomatoes would all be delicious here.
Crispy Tofu Ssam
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 tbs salt
- 1 1/2 lb firm tofu, (20 oz)
- 5 oz beetroot, peeled and sliced into 1/8" thick semicircles
- 2 cups cornstarch
- sunflower oil, as needed, for frying
- 2 1/2 cups rice, cooked short grain rice, seasoned
- 1 cup cucumber, sliced
- 1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 head lettuce
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 1 cup ssamjang sauce
- soy sauce, optional, for serving
- kimchi, optional, for serving
- Pickle the beetroot. In a medium sized pot, add the rice vinegar, water, sugar and salt. Bring to a strong boil, then add the beetroot slices and turn off the heat. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile press the tofu with kitchen towels so it releases excess moisture. Some tofus are more watery than others, so depending on the brand, you might need to do it several times until the tofu stops leaking water. Then, slice the tofu into 1 inch cubes.
- In a large sized bowl, add the cornstarch and season it with salt. Add the tofu cubes and bread them completely with the cornstarch. Take the breaded tofu onto a clean plate.
- In a large skillet or pot over high heat, add enough sunflower oil to deep fry. When the oil reaches 375 F/190 C, add half the breaded tofu. Fry until the tofu reaches a light golden brown color and is crispy, 3-5 minutes approximately. Take out of the oil and sprinkle with salt. Add the second batch of breaded tofu and repeat.
- Arrange a large platter with the tofu, rice, pickled beetroots, cucumber, green onions, lettuce and bean sprouts. Serve with ssamjang, soy sauce and kimchi to dress the wraps.