Sunday, March 04, 2012

Almost forgotten: Spicy Chicken (or Beef) In Lettuce Cups

Spicy Beef Chicken In Lettuce Cups
Quick and Easy Chinese Copyright 2008

3 tablespoons soy sauce I used low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons dry sherry, white wine of Shaoxing wine
2 teaspoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ pound ground beef I used ground chicken
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger I used jarred
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons chopped green onion
1 tablespoon sesame oil
About 20 cup-shaped lettuce leaves, such as Bibb, Boston, or iceberg I couldn't find a good lettuce that day. I used a green leaf lettuce.

In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, sherry, cornstarch, sugar and salt, and stir well to dissolve the cornstarch and combine everything into a smooth sauce.

Place the ground beef in a medium bowl and use a spoon to separate it into five or six big clumps. Add about half the soy sauce mixture, and gently mix the seasonings into the ground beef, using your hands or a large spoon. Set aside for 10 to 15 minutes.

To cook, heat a wok or a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the vegetable oil; swirl to coat the pan, and them toss in the ginger and the garlic. Cook for about 1 minute, tossing once, until fragrant but not browned.

Crumble in the seasoned ground beef, and use your spatula or a big slotted spoon to break it up and spread the meat out over the hot pan to help it cook evenly. Let it cook until it changes color on one side, 1 to 2 minutes.

Toss the meat just enough to turn the uncooked side onto the hot pan, and let it cook another minute undisturbed. Then toss well, using your spatula to break up any large chunks. When the meat is cooked, add the red pepper flakes and green onion, and toss well, Add the sesame oil and remove from the heat, tossing once more to mix everything well.

Transfer to a serving plate and serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Arrange lettuce cups on a serving platter, and fill each one with a spoonful or two of the cooked beef. Or provide lettuce cups and the serving plate of beef and invite guests to make up lettuce packets themselves.

I almost forgot to tell you about these.  On my ground chicken post, someone suggested using ground chicken for lettuce wraps. What a great idea! I adapted this beef recipe.

The filling was very good but I wasn't happy with the lettuce I used. I forget which variety it was but it wasn't what I wanted. I had waited until the last minute to buy the lettuce and it turned out not to be a good day for lettuce in the supermarket. I have since remade them with a proper lettuce but I didn't have light for a picture at the time.

This was rather spicy but you can adjust the seasonings however you wish.  I would definitely keep an eye on salt. I had a pound of meat defrosted and I tried to double the recipe the first time so that could have been why they were too salty,even though I used low-sodium soy sauce. The second time I made them I sort of winged it, leaving out the salt and basically using the original amounts for a pound of meat. Since I never did try the recipe exactly as it's written, I don't know how that would work out for you. Definitely leave out that salt.

I obviously enjoyed these since I made them twice but this is something I still need to perfect. Any suggestions?

I am adding this recipe to my ground chicken recipe list.


Leslie said...

Sounds really good. What would serve with these? Rice?

The Cookbook Junkie said...

Any Asian-inspired side would be good with these. A rice or noodle dish or if you're watching carbs maybe a cucumber salad or stir-fried vegetables.

Ritsin said...

I think adding a couple of tablespoons of hoisin sauce would give you the extra "oomph" in taste that you're missing.

Alisha said...

I found a lettuce wrap recipe that I like ... It uses quite a lot of fresh herbs and a jalapeno but basically the same idea. I love the idea of using ground chicken though - I'm not a big fan of ground beef except in hamburgers - and it's a better alternative than ground pork.

Anonymous said...

Made these for dinner tonight. I omitted the salt and added fresh chopped basil and cilantro to the green onions. Served on iceberg with hoisin and sriracha. A side of plain cous cous was perfect. Thanks for posting!

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Anonymous said...

LOVE this recipe. I left out the salt, but I think that next time I would still use a little bit less soy sauce (it wasn't OVERL|Y salty, my housemate liked it, but just a tad much for me). I also used rice vinegar instead of sherry and put the chicken on iceburg lettuce. YUM!

Anonymous said...

I make these style wrps, but start out sautéing leeks, shallots and white onion, then add chic, then towards the end I add diced bamboo shoots and water chestnuts. I also add housin sauce. Now a famiily staple. I also make a side sauce with rice vinegar and spucy chilli and soy(Sambal )
Hope this helps!