Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Vietnamese-Style Lettuce Cups

For our last meal of 2012, I chose these gorgeous Vietnamese-Style Lettuce Cups.  There are football bowl games to be watched, a fire to be snuggled up to, and the sounds of all the neighbor kids popping fireworks to listen to... so something we can sit in front of the television and eat while we cheer on our favorite team seemed to fit the bill.  Not to mention - these are full of veggies and and create a flavor explosion in your palate!
My husband's opinion?  "I'm very impressed."  (That's quite an accomplishment, because we all know that this is not the typical football watching fare!) 
This would easily serve 4 as an appetizer, but for two adults watching football... the two of us ate all of it!  I found a similar recipe in Redbook Magazine recently, but changed it up in several ways to suit our tastes.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely minced
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped 
  • zest of 2 limes 
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 head of Butter or Bibb lettuce leaves
  • 2-3 radishes, washed and sliced super thin
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Fresh lime wedges 
Sauce:
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced 

Step-by-Step:

1. Prep  -
In a small bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, and jalapeno pepper.
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 Tbsp ginger, peeled and finely minced
1 jalapeno, minced finely.
Note - I removed the ribs and seeds to lessen the heat.  For a bigger kick, leave them in.
1 large carrot, peeled and grated

2-3 radishes, washed and sliced super thin
You can just about see my fingers through the radishes!  Don't be afraid of the radishes.  Left large, they can be strong, but sliced this thinly, they give you a beautiful color contrast, some crunch, and just a hint of spicy.  They help created the balance of the dish.
1 large shallot, minced fine
1 - 2 green onions, sliced really thin
2. Cook -
In a large wok (or large skillet), heat the oil over fairly high heat. 
1 Tbsp canola oil (you could also use Peanut oil)
Add the garlic mixture and stir-fry about a minute.
2 cloves garlic, 1 jalapeno, 1 1/2 Tbsp ginger
Add the pork, carrots, and shallots; and cook, stirring constantly, about 4 minutes until the pork begins to brown and is no longer pink.
1 lb ground pork
1 large grated carrot
1 large shallot, minced
2 green onions, thinly sliced

To the meat mixture, add the lime zest, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and sesame oil and cook for another 3 - 4 minutes.
2-3 tsp lime zest
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup fish sauce (available at any Asian market)
1 tsp sesame oil
1 - 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
3. Make the dipping sauce -
Just combine all the dip ingredients.
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
2 green onions, finely sliced
4. Serve!
Spoon the meat mixture into lettuce cups (this is Butter lettuce). Top with thinly sliced radishes and fresh cilantro.  Serve with lime wedges to squeeze over the top.  Give everyone a little bowl of dipping sauce, or have one communal bowl!

Written Directions
  • I recommend you have everything prepped and ready, because this dish goes really quickly once you start.  So begin by peeling, chopping, grating, squeezing, etc., as indicated above.
  • In a small bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, and jalapeno pepper.
  • In a large wok (or large skillet), heat the oil over fairly high heat.  
  • Add the garlic mixture and stir-fry about a minute.
  • Add the pork, carrots, and shallots; and cook, stirring constantly, about 4 minutes until the pork begins to brown and is no longer pink.
  • To the meat mixture, add the lime zest, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and sesame oil and cook for another 3 - 4 minutes.
  • Remove from heat; taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary.
  • Spoon the warm pork mixture into lettuce cups; sprinkle with radishes and cilantro.  Serve with lime wedges and dipping sauce.

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Can't get enough easy Asian-influenced recipes?  Here are some more!
Crock Pot Beef and Broccoli
Sesame Shrimp and Asparagus Stir-Fry
 Spicy Fried Cauliflower Bites
 Steamed Asian Dumplings
 Thai Chicken with Peanut Curry Sauce and Coconut Rice
 Toasted Sesame and Ginger Chicken Kabobs
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3 comments:

  1. Could I make these with another type of meat? Maybe some shredded chicken? Do you think they would still be good?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure it would be fine! That's what I love about cooking at home.... total freedom to change things up. You could even use ground turkey.
      Good luck!

      Delete
  2. I made these tonight and lets just say they ROCKED!!

    ReplyDelete

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