I love trying new foods. I saw these lettuce wraps at a Chinese restaurant years ago. I've been thinking about them lately. They looked so refreshing. I wanted to give it a try at home. I searched online for a recipe and found one at The Pioneer Woman. Of course I settled on this recipe because I've had such good experiences with all her recipes. As usual her recipe had alcohol in it so I had to make some adjustments. I replaced the Chinese cooking wine with a combination of orange juice and rice vinegar. The recipe also called for peanut chilli or satay sauce. I have neither and I wanted my one year old son to be able to eat it so I left it out. As always I increased the garlic. The recipe called for 1/2 cup of diced water chestnuts. I had every intention of doing this but as I was chopping up the water chestnuts I ended up just dumping in the whole tin. This was a more than half a cup. I also added some red chilli flakes and freshly ground black pepper to spice it up. This recipe is quick to make. The most time consuming part is the chopping. I also tried this with ground chicken and it turned out really good.
This was messy to eat. You could use a bigger piece of lettuce and wrap it up like a burrito. The original recipe was just meat and lettuce. This was good but I thought something was missing so I added some rice to it and it felt more complete. I served it with Japanese Zucchini and Onions. You should really try this dish. I know my picture is unappetizing for it but it is really yummy and quick to make.
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
1 pound ground beef, veal or chicken (we prefer it with ground chicken breast)
2 tbsp canola oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch piece of ginger, minced
1 whole red pepper, diced
1 tin water chestnuts, diced
3/4 tsp red chilli flakes (or to taste)
2 tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp rice vinegar
4 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp peanut chilli or satay sauce (I didn't add this to make it nut-free)
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 head lettuce (I used Boston lettuce)
In a small bowl, mix together soya sauce, oyster sauce, peanut chilli sauce, hoisin sauce and sesame oil.
In another small bowl mix together orange juice and rice vinegar.
In a wok heat pan over medium-high heat. Add oil and allow to heat up. Add the onion cook for a few minutes. Once it is translucent add the ginger and garlic and stir fry for 30 seconds or until fragant. Add the ground meat and brown. Add the red chilli flakes, red pepper and water chestnuts and stir frequently. Once the water has evaporated, add the orange juice mixture. Cook this for approximately 1 minute and then add the soya sauce mixture. Cook this for about 3 minutes. Add freshly ground black pepper. Check seasoning and add any salt if necessary.
Take one leaf of lettuce, add some rice, top with meat mixture, fold and eat!