Sunday, May 8, 2011

Thai Lettuce Cups

The first time I tried Lettuce Wraps was at a popular Chinese restaurant.  I could not believe how simple the dish was, but it was still so flavorful and delicious.  I tried to come up with my own version of lettuce wraps, but with my favorite Thai flavors.

Brown 1lb of lean ground meat.  You can use any kind you like (Chicken, Beef, Turkey).  I used pork.  Once meat is brown then add:
2 Tbs of grated ginger
1 Tbs of grated garlic
1 small can of water chestnuts chopped
2 jalapenos (seeded) chopped
scallions chopped **white part only
Cook 3-4 minutes.

Note:  Reserve the green part of the scallions for garnish to be used later.

Now add a handful each of fresh mint leaves and Thai Basil chopped.  Cook for another 1-2 minutes.

The Sauce:
1 Tbs of Chili Sambal (or red pepper flakes to taste)
1 tsp of Sesame Oil
2 Tbs of Fish Sauce
2 Tbs of Soy Sauce
2 Tbs of Rice Vinegar
2 Tbs of Chinese cooking wine or dry Sherry
1/2 tsp brown sugar

Note:  Soy Sauce and Fish Sauce are used as salt in Thai and Chinese cooking.  So if you are not a fan of salt adjust your dish accordingly.

Add the sauce to the meat and stir fry 5 minutes.  You don't want too much liquid left in the pan otherwise you will have soggy lettuce wraps.

Wash and dry your favorite lettuce.  I used Bib Lettuce because it comes in a nice "cup" shape.  You can use Iceberg, Romaine etc...

You can place about 1-2 Tbs of meat filling on each lettuce leaf.  Garnish with green scallions and chopped peanuts.
Enjoy as an appetizer to any Asian style meal.  This is also a great snack.