Foodie Fridays - Asian Lettuce Wraps

Asian Lettuce Wraps @ Hickory Ridge Studio

I love Chinese food, but then again who doesn't.  It's fast and easy and though I might not be able to make authentic Chinese food due to the fact I don't have access to the ingredients, I can make a fair facsimile with what I can find at Tem's Food Store in Macon.  And lest you think I'm dissin' my local grocery, I LOVE my grocery store.  We have the best meats in a tri-county area.

I've seen these lettuce wraps on Pinterest and some food blogs I follow and by using what I had on hand and winging the rest I came up with this recipe.  It's a little spicy, a little sweet, and a little salty all wrapped in green, crunchy goodness.  It's also low fat, low carb, and protein packed.  

This would probably make about six to eight servings and I ate two so...double or triple as you need.  I hope you enjoy and if you do make this let me know!  Enjoy!

Asian Lettuce Wraps

1/2 pound ground meat either beef, pork, chicken, or turkey.  For my version I used beef. 
1 cup of finely diced baby carrots
1/2 cup of finely diced onion 
1 cup of finely diced cabbage
1 cup of finely diced mushrooms
1/2 cup finely diced water chestnuts 
2 tablespoons of finely diced garlic
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon sesame oil 
2 tablespoons canola oil 
2 tablespoons soy sauce 
1 teaspoon hot chili oil (you can easily make this at home)
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons light or dark brown sugar.  I used light brown sugar.
1/2 cup cold water
1 heaping teaspoon corn starch

In a hot saute pan or wok heat a tablespoon or two of canola oil and brown the ground beef until no pink remains.  Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel lined plate.  

In the same hot pan heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and two tablespoons of canola oil and saute your onion for two to three minutes.  Add the diced carrots and saute for two to three minutes, then add the mushrooms and saute for three to five minutes more or until the mushrooms start to cook down.  Lastly add your cabbage and water chestnuts and cook until the cabbage is cooked down and tender.  If you pan looks a little dry and the vegetables are not done add in a few tablespoons of water to allow the vegetables to continue to cook and not burn.   

While the cabbage and other vegetables cook down, make your sauce.  Whisk together the soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 teaspoon hot chili oil, 1 teaspoon honey, and 2 teaspoons brown sugar.  Right before the cabbage looks done add the ground beef back to the pan stirring well and allowing it to heat through.  Add the sauce stirring well again and cook on a gentle heat for a minute or two to allow the brown sugar to dissolve.  

Whisk together the water and corn starch and add a few teaspoons of the mixture at a time until you have a light sauce that coats everything.  It shouldn't be soupy, just a light sauce.  You will not use all the corn starch water.  Continue to cook for a few more minutes to allow the starchy taste to cook out.  Turn off the heat and allow to rest for a few minutes. 

Serve on lettuce leaves, whatever you can find available.  Usually this is served on bib or butter lettuce but I've had a hard time finding that around here.  I ate mine on curly green lettuce which was pretty darn good.  I think this would also be awesome served over hot white or brown rice.  

The taste like I said is sweet, salty, spicy, and overall yum!  I hope you like it and if you make it let me know!


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