Thai Lettuce Wraps

Thai lettuce wrap with romaine hearts

Thai lettuce wrap
with romaine hearts

I’ve seen Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver both make these things on one cooking show or another – Yes, I’m addicted to Food TV! – and I’ve always thought how simple they look. I hadn’t made them because if I tried to feed my husband veggies wrapped in veggies, I think he’d assume I’d gone off the deep end and go out and get a burger. But darling hubby who loves my down-home filler ‘er up cooking is back working nights and wouldn’t be getting up until 10pm, so I had a chance to make these for myself and Lori without any complaints.

They turned out fabulously. Once again, I messed with a couple different recipes I found on allrecipes.com and food.com to fit the veggies I had in my fridge. The original recipe is vegetarian and calls for tofu as the protein. I do not eat tofu. Those of you who do, great for you, but I’ve tried it in every different way I’ve been offered, and this is something I can honestly say I still can’t stand, even if it’s deep fried, and I think almost anything is edible if it’s deep fried. *grin

Besides being kind of fun because you make them at the table like a make-your-own taco, they’re incredibly healthy.

By the way, hubby got the wrap stuffing, with some thinly sliced fast-fry steak on top and some garlic green beans. He said the flavor was amazing.

Stir-fried mixture for wraps

  • 1 head fresh lettuce. I used romaine hearts because they were on sale and super fresh and crisp. The recipe calls for iceberg
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger (I used a squirt of the kind you buy in a tube and keep in the fridge)
  • 1 red chili, minced OR (because I was out) about 1 tsp hot chili pepper paste from the tube in the fridge
  • 1/2 cooking onion, chopped finely
  • 1/2 lb cooked salad shrimp (or chicken or pork cut into small pieces)
  • 5-6 mushrooms very thinly sliced
  • 1 egg (I actually forgot this part)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cabbage (I actually used a store-bought coleslaw mix)
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • approx 2 cup bean sprouts
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice (I squeezed in 1/2 a lime)
  • 2 Tblsp soy sauce
  • 1.5 Tblsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tblsp oyster sauce (left this out because I didn’t have any)
  • 1/4 tsp sugar (I use Splenda)
  • chopped parsley
  • minced basil

Toppings (optional)

  • 1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • Thai dipping sauce to drizzle over
  1. Drizzle oil into a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, ginger, chili, and onions. Stir-fry one minute, or until fragrant. 
  2. Add chicken or pork or RAW shrimp (I used cooked shrimp so they went in later), carrot, mushrooms, cabbage, and green onions. As you stir-fry, add the lime juice, soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce and sprinkle over the sugar. Stir-fry about 1 minute.
  3. Push ingredients to the side of the wok or pan, and crack in the egg. Stir-fry quickly to break the yolk. Mix in with the other ingredients.
  4. Add the bean sprouts, basil and parsley (or cilantro but I hate the stuff) and cooked shrimp if you used them, and stir-fry briefly to mix (avoid over-looking or it will go limp). Remove from heat and do a taste test for salt, adding more fish sauce or soy sauce if not salty enough.
  5. Cut off the stem part of the iceberg lettuce, or the stem of the romaine so it’s easier to separate the leaves. Now place the lettuce, sir-fried filling, and the toppings on your table in separate bowls/plates, allowing family or guests to make their own wraps.
  6. To assemble, take a whole lettuce leaf and place 1-2 heaping tablespoons of filling in the center. Top with a sprinkling of fresh basil and peanuts plus fresh bean sprouts if desired. Then wrap up and eat! (For those who like it extra spicy, fresh-cut chili can be added as another topping.) ENJOY!

Thai Dipping Sauce (sweet & sour)

I found this on About.com contributed by Darlene Schmidt and will make it very soon because it looks like a great change up to the typical Chinese sweet & sour I normally make.

  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar (OR other type of vinegar: white, white wine, or apple cider)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed (I would use Ideal Brown sugar substitute)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 fresh red chilies, minced, OR 1/3 to 1/2 tsp. dried crushed chili OR cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce, OR 1+ 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce)
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce

Preparation:

  1. Place all ingredients in a sauce pan or pot. Stir and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sauce will thicken as it cooks and become tangy – a mixture of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy. (Note: Depending what kind of vinegar you use, the smell as the vinegar burns off can be quite pungent, although rice vinegar is milder than other types).
  3. When sauce has been reduced by 1/3, remove from heat. Taste-test and adjust according to your liking. For a sweeter sauce, add a little more sugar. If not spicy enough, add more chili. If not salty or flavorful enough, add a splash more fish sauce.
  4. Use right away, or refrigerate until needed. This sauce stores well in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. This sauce makes a terrific marinade for chicken, pork, beef, fish, or shrimp, or use it as a dip or condiment.
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