Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Lettuce Wraps

These are very good. They are tasty and healthy, and they invite everyone to sit down together, pass plates, scoop and drizzle and lick fingers.

1 head of curly leaf or iceberg lettuce
2 small bundles of vermicelli rice noodles - the fine size
1 pound of protein (minced or ground beef or minced chicken or firm tofu)
vegetable oil
1 large onion
1 tsp fresh ginger - grated
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped fine
1/2 can of water chestnuts, drained and chopped fine
1 small red bell pepper, chopped fine
1 small green bell pepper, chopped fine
1/3 zucchini, chopped fine
4-6 green onions, chopped (for garnish)
1 Tbs rice wine vinegar or lemon juice
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs sesame oil
Asian chili sauce to taste
hoisin sauce for garnish

1. Wash and spin dry the lettuce leaves, being careful to keep them whole. Arrange on a plate.
2. While you are washing the lettuce, heat a couple of inches deep of veg oil in a saucepan. Every few minutes, test the heat by dropping a piece of dry vermicelli into the oil. When it sizzles and puffs up rapidly, the oil is hot enough. At that time, drop in one vermicelli bundle at a time, turning once after it puffs. Remove and place on paper towels to drain. The noodles will be dry and puffed up and crispy. (We call them styrofoam but they are much better.) Do the same with the second bundle. You may want to wait a couple of minutes in between bundles to let the oil heat up a bit.

While the oil is heating, go on with the next steps, but keep checking the oil.
2. Stir fry the meat or tofu in some oil. Cook until browned and slightly crispy. Set aside.
3. Stir fry the onions with the ginger and garlic, until just cooked. Add to the protein that has been set aside.
4. Stir fry the carrots. After a minute or two, add the other remaining vegetables (except the green onions - these are for garnish) and cook the lot until it is fresh-crispy cooked.
5. Add the protein/onion/garlic/ginger mix back in and stir fry together lightly.
6. Season with the soy, vinegar or lemon, sesame oil and chili sauce.

On a large platter or shallow large bowl, break the vermicelli noodle puffs into a nest.
Spoon the stir-fry mixture onto the nest of vermicelli.
Sprinkle the green onions on top.
Serve at the table with the lettuce leaves and the hoisin sauce on the side.

How to eat:
Take a lettuce leaf, fill it with the stir fry mixture, including some vermicelli noodles. Top with hoisin to taste. Fold up the leaf and eat the wrap. Have napkins ready.

What to do with leftovers:
Lettuce wrap salad is yummy. Reheat a bit of the stir fry mixture, or serve it cold. Use it to top a bowl of torn lettuce. Dress with hoisin.

The stir fry filling reheated and served over rice is yummy too.

question: what do you like to cook?

mompoet - I like to cook


J. Andrew Lockhart said...

I do all the cooking here - for all 6 of us. I love it. :)

Carol said...

Oh, this sounds good. I have a blog cookbook too!