Thai Lettuce Wraps

May 26, 2011

The end of the school year is near, which always means my life, as a teacher, becomes temporarily overwhelmingly busy.  The good news is that in two weeks I will be off for the summer with nothing to do but play with the kiddos, work in the garden, and of course cook.  The canning jars are all nearly empty, taunting me with possibilities.  But right now, in between writing finals and grading the last of the lab notebooks, there is little time for much else.  Thank goodness for quick and easy meals that still make dinner seem like a special time of day.

In between all of the bread and the cake that we have been eating lately, I thought we needed to have at least one meal that lacks a substantial carb load. Thai Lettuce Wraps always satisfy on many levels. The combo of sweet, salty, and spicy is so completely delectable that it distracts from the fact that there is no bed of rice or noodles (of course you can add those if you choose).  They are super quick and budget friendly.  Let us not forget that they are also fun to eat!


Thai Lettuce Wraps

adapted from Cooks Illustrated

serves 4

1 cup cilantro

3 garlic cloves, peeled

2 serrano chilies

1tablespoon oyster sauce

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pound ground pork (ground turkey or chicken also work well)

1 cup thinly sliced leeks (or 1/3 cup thinly sliced shallots)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

red pepper flakes for serving

8 butter lettuce leaves

Place cilantro, garlic, and serranos in the food processor.  Process until minced.  Put 1 tablespoon of cilantro mixture in a bowl and add oyster sauce, fish sauce, rice vinegar, and sugar.  Reserve.

Heat oil in pan over medium-low heat.  Add the cilantro mixture from food processor and the leeks.  Saute while stirring for 3 minutes.

Add ground meat.  Increase heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until meat is browned through.

Add reserved cilantro mixture with sauces.  Stir and cook 1 minute.

Serve with lettuce leaves for wrapping and red pepper flakes.

Here is a printer friendly version of the recipe: Thai Lettuce Wraps

You may also like:

Vietnamese Hue Noodle Soup

Huevos Diablos con Chorizo

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2 Responses to “Thai Lettuce Wraps”

  1. Mary K DRENNAN Says:

    Karen. I am enjoying your blog. The latest one on lettuce wraps sounds great. Can you recommend a substitute for fish sauce and oyster sauce?
    Mary K.


    • The flavors of fish and oyster sauce are rather unique. They can both be found at a well-stocked grocery (our local Safeway stocks them). If you are allergic or can’t eat them for another reason, I recommend substituting soy sauce and lime juice. That should be delicious as well. Glad you enjoy My Pantry Shelf! It is fun to know you are reading along!


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