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Spicy Tofu Lettuce Cups

“I was born in China and adopted as a baby. Even though I haven’t lived in China for a long time, I still love Chinese flavors,” says Jessica. “This is a traditional Chinese dish called ma-po tofu that my mom and I added a lot of vegetables to, so it’s healthier and easier to eat at lunch. The lettuce helps you to add a lot of veggies because you can wrap up whatever you want to include, then crunch them up together like you were using a tortilla. - Jessica Wolfe, age 9, West Virginia

Makes 10 to 12 servings


For the sauce:

  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 6 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chili-garlic sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil

For the tofu:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 1 pound ground chicken breast
  • 1 (14-ounce) package firm tofu, drained of liquid (press between paper towels) and cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, leaves separated
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced


Make the sauce:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the chicken broth, soy sauce, sugar, chili-garlic sauce, and sesame oil. Set aside, stirring occasionally to ensure the sugar is dissolved.

Make the tofu:

  1. In a large sauté pan over moderate heat, warm the vegetable oil. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute. Add the ground chicken and cook, stirring to break up the meat, until the chicken is cooked through and there are no pink spots, about 6 minutes. Add the tofu and the reserved sauce and simmer, covered, until the tofu is warmed through, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water. Add this to the pan and continue to simmer, stirring, until the mixture is hot, about 2 minutes.
  3. Serve by taking one lettuce leaf, adding a few strips of red bell pepper, cucumber, and carrot then spooning some of the tofu mixture on top. Roll and eat.

154 calories; 11g protein; 8g carbohydrates; 9g fat (2g saturated fat); 386mg sodium

More information about the Kids' State Dinner:

  • Check out the other winning 2013 Kids' State Dinner Recipes here.
  • Learn more about Kids' State Dinner here.