Monday, October 25, 2010

The Original Asian Lettuce Wraps

Although the ingredient list is long, these Asian Lettuce Wraps are pretty quick and easy.

Unless you have an evening like this...

You get home from work, and your kitchen smells surprisingly like a community pool.  When you open the cupboard under your sink, the blast of bleach causes your nose hairs to wither.  You realize that everything under the sink is swimming in a little lake of Clorox spray.  Apparently, your gallon jug of cleaning product has sprung a leak.  Great.

You get almost everything cleaned up, but the bottom of your box of garbage bags is completely saturated with Clorox.  When you lift it up, it disintegrates, and all 25,000 of your Kirkland Signature garbage bags go flying around your kitchen.  In the process, each bag gets covered in more Clorox.  GREAT.

As you're debating the environmental and financial impact of chucking 25,000 unused garbage bags, you remember that the city is working on your plumbing, and they have disconnected your sewer from the main line.  In order to prevent "unpleasant odors" from penetrating into your house, they have forbidden you from running water down the drain.  GREAAAAT.

So, you cook dinner with as little water as possible, which causes, of course, the biggest mess ever.

If you have had a day like this, it's okay to eat in front of the most recent episode of 30 Rock.  In fact, it's probably better that way.

Asian Lettuce Wraps
Adapted from the cyber kitchen of
Serves: 4

For Wraps:
16 leaves of butter lettuce (or iceberg or romaine, just use something crunchy)
1 pound ground turkey
1 tablespoon oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons pickled ginger, minced
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Asian chile pepper sauce
8 ounces water chestnuts, drained and chopped
5 green onions, white and light green parts only, chopped
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil

For Dipping Sauce:
1/4 cup plum sauce
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/2 teaspoon corn starch
1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce

In a skillet over high heat, brown the ground turkey and onion in 1 tablespoon oil.  (If you have lots of time on your hands, brown the turkey first, then set it aside before browning the onion in the same pan.  This will allow the turkey to brown better.  If you're in a hurry, just throw them both together.  That's certainly what I do.)  Add garlic, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, vinegar, and chile pepper sauce into the skillet and stir.  Stir in the chopped water chestnuts, white and light green parts of the onion, and sesame oil.  Continue cooking until the onions begin to wilt, about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce.  Whisk together plum sauce, orange juice, corn starch, and teriyaki sauce in a small saucepan. Boil for 1 minute.

Arrange lettuce leaves on a platter and add the meat in a big pile.  Serve with the sauce, letting everybody make his or her own lettuce wraps.  And make sure you have plenty of napkins.


  1. Ahh lettuce wraps - very reminiscent of my days as a waitress at PF Changs. Looks delish!

  2. I had to figure out a good lettuce wrap recipe so I don't have to brave the mall parking lot to get to PF Changs! They set the lettuce wrap bar high at that place!