We’re Cooking: Chinese Lettuce Wraps

Lettuce wraps are a favorite on many Chinese food tables.  They are a tasty, rich and savory starter, however they can be a little greasy at times…. So I created a bit lighter recipe using super lean ground turkey breast or ground chicken breast, lots of veggies and spice.   The filling can also be used to make fried dumplings, which we tried another time, but this light wrap is just as satisfying and super tasty!


Chinese Lettuce Wraps
For the Wraps:
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 yellow onion, minced
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped button or shitake mushrooms
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey or chicken breast (the turkey is a bit richer, you could also do ground pork loin, but it won’t be quite as low fat)
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 -1 teaspoon Sambal Oelek or other hot chili paste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
juice and zest of 1 lime
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 head butter lettuce

For the Sauce:
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/3 teaspoon Sambal
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro 
1 scallion (dark green only) chopped thin
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet or wok over medium heat add 1 tablespoon olive oil and saute onion, celery, ginger, carrot and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the turkey, mushrooms and the additional tablespoon of oil, if needed.  If there is enough moisture in the mix this can be omitted.  Season the veggies and turkey with the salt, pepper, coriander and Worcestershire and mix well.  Add the sambal, rice vinegar and soy sauce and continue to cook until the meat is almost finished.  Add the herbs, lime and sesame oil and stir to combine flavors.  Cook until the meat is finished.  As the meat is cooking whisk all the ingredients for the sauce together and pour into a serving dish; wash and arrange your lettuce leaves on a platter.  When the filling is finished spoon onto the platter beside the lettuce and serve with the sauce.  Yum!