Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Asian Lettuce Wraps
This recipe is my version of the ubiquitous Asian lettuce wrap. Although I make no claims to authenticity, we like that they are easy, fresh, crunchy, and provided you use restraint with the peanut sauce, actually healthful. I will warn you that they are pretty messy and require a lot of passing of bowls at the dinner table. Scott usually starts out eating them as wraps, but after one or two he gives up and uses a fork. However you enjoy them just make sure to keep extra napkins close by.
1 head iceberg lettuce (you can use romaine or bibb too, we just prefer the cold crunch of iceberg)
1 pound ground chicken (turkey works too)
1/2 cup hoison sauce (we strongly prefer the Lee Kum Kee brand)
1 can water chestnuts, diced
1 can baby corn, sliced diagonally
2 or 3 carrots, shredded
1/4 cup salted peanuts or cashews, chopped
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1 package extra firm tofu, cut into small cubes
extra hoison sauce for passing
peanut sauce for passing (posted separately)
To prepare the lettuce, cut head in half and cut out core.
While keeping each half intact, rinse thoroughly with cold water. Shake out as much water as possible, wrap in paper towels and place in a plastic bag. Store in refrigerator until needed. Overnight works well but is not necessary.
Cook the ground chicken until brown (I like to use a nonstick skillet with a little cooking spray). Using a fork or another implementation of your choice, break the meat into very small chunks as it cooks. Add diced water chestnuts and 1/2 cup hoison sauce to the meat and heat through.
To serve, peel a leaf of lettuce off the outside of the head and use as a cup to hold the fillings of your choice. I like this order: meat, rice, a little tofu, carrots, green onions, baby corn, peanut sauce.