My dinner repertoire has become so large that there are some dishes I only get around to making once a year. It’s too bad because some very good things get forgotten. I recently went back to the first dish I ever made by myself as a kid, lettuce wrap.
I remember trying lettuce wrap for the first time in a Chinese restaurant I don’t think exists anymore, off the Grandview Hwy in Vancouver. Every Friday night, after my brother’s kendo practice, a few families would go out for dinner together. I don’t remember a lot about those meals, but I do remember the meal where I first tried lettuce wrap. After that, every time we’d go for Chinese I’d ask to order it. I loved the combination of ground meat, diced veggies, and the crisp from the water chestnuts and fried noodles all wrapped up in a piece of iceberg lettuce. Each time we ordered it my mom or dad and I would try to decipher each ingredient so we could try to recreate this at home. Looking back on it now, I was a pretty food focused even when I was 8 years old.
The best thing about lettuce wrap is that you can be creative with the ingredients and it will still taste delicious. I’ve found over time to make it healthier, I’ve substituted the ground beef and pork with turkey or chicken breast and really cut back on the sauce. Even with the changes, the result is always a great hands-on dinner.
At-home Lettuce Wrap
- package ground turkey/chicken breast (or ground beef/pork, sliced chicken breast, prawns, firm tofu…)
- 1 stalk celery
- 1 carrot
- 1 red pepper
- 1 green pepper
- broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, green beans, snaps peas, peas (or anything else you may want to throw in)
- knob of ginger
- few cloves garlic
- handful of green onions
- can water chestnuts
- soy sauce
- hoisin sauce
- chili sauce
- head of lettuce – iceberg, butter, leaf, romaine…
As you can see from the list of ingredients, this recipe is open to interpretation.
- Heat pan/wok and add 1 tbsp oil (I use coconut oil as it adds a great flavour to the meat and veggies). Add ground meat to the pan. When the meat is cooked through, remove from pan and set aside.
- Add more oil if needed and start add your veggies. (I like to add them in sequence by cooking time, so all the veggies are cooked properly).
- When veggies are mostly cooked, add the meat back to the pan. Add 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1-2 tbsp hoisin sauce, 1 tsp chili sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Add more of anything to taste.
- Serve with lettuce leaves and additional hoisin sauce.