Saturday, June 4, 2016

thai lettuce wraps

This is an idea I ripped off from a local restaurant, Maggie McFly's (I love this place!).

At the restaurant, they serve stir-fried beef, bean sprouts, shredded carrots, noodles (similar to Raman), tiny sliced cucumbers, and crushed peanuts along side lettuce leaves and three dipping sauces.  It was delicious and I liked making my own lettuce wraps.  I could use as little or as much as I wanted.  I was able to eat three wraps; however, I had a salad beforehand, so I probably could have eaten more.  I really enjoyed having these and figured it would be something different, for a change, and pretty easy to make at home.  So, this weekend, off I went to get the ingredients!

Bibb lettuce (or Boston or Butter, same thing) is used for making the lettuce wraps.  The leaves are pretty much the perfect size:  not too big and not too small.  Plus, they don't seem to tear easily.  I wasn't sure I'd find this lettuce at the regular grocery store, so I checked Whole Foods while I was there.  They wanted $6.99 for a head!!  I said "no way" and decided to stop at another store on the way home.  Lo and behold!  They had the same exact branch for only $2.99!  Still more than iceberg lettuce, but I feel like it works better.  Tastes like something, too.

I grabbed the smallest bag of bean sprouts, which was huge considering I don't really have another use for them (I'll have to Google, "what to do with a million bean sprouts"), and also a bag of carrots.  I didn't buy the pre-shredded carrots since I can easily do it with my food processor.  I also grabbed some beef from the meat case, which was already cut into strips, and some limes for my marinade.

I made the lettuce wraps this week and it was easy.  Just marinate the meet overnight (you don't have to, but I like it like that), prepare your toppings, tear off some lettuce leaves, and fry the beef.  Super simple; however, this is one time where you want to have everything ready to go before you cook the beef.  The strips were really thin and cooked very fast.  In fact, I overcooked them a little.

I really liked the marinade (recipe below).  It had lots of flavor.  I actually used it on my husband's pork cutlets, too.  He's not into making lettuce wraps, so he had pork with sautéed green beans and a pasta side dish. The one thing that would have made these better is dipping sauce.  I totally zoned out and forgot to make a sauce.  At the restaurant, they served a sesame ginger sauce, teriyaki sauce, and a peanut sauce.  Next time I must remember!

Asian Marinade

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
3 TB honey
Juice of 2 limes
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 TB minced fresh ginger (or 1 tsp ground ginger)
3 scallions, thinly sliced

Whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, and oil.  Add the remaining ingredients and whisk again.  Use to marinade anything you want!


  1. Looks yummy! ;) I always love your food posts.

    Our local Chinese restaurant makes something very like this called San Choy Bow but they do it with mince meat of some kind, I believe it might be pork. We've taken to eating something very similar to their San Choy Bow but with beef mince, chopped brussel sprouts and carrots, cooked in oyster sauce. I only occasionally bother with the lettuce, for some reason lettuce here it is hard to find a good one regularly but if I find one we do make wraps.

    The rest of the time, we usually just put the mince in a bowl and eat it with a little cheese sprinkled on top, and sometimes if I have not got to my desired protein level, a poached egg on top. I have been meaning to put this recipe up on my blog for a while now, I'll take pics when I make it this week. :)

    1. Yes, recipe please!! Sounds like a good way to use up the giant bottle of oyster sauce that's in my fridge. :)