Wednesday, August 20, 2008

As easy as it looks!

This recipe is totally easy - plain and simple. I love making appetizers or finger foods, small plates, tapas, or whatever you call them :), but so many times, they really require more work, more ingredients and a lot more effort than a main dish would. Not that it stops me, but this dish that works as an appetizer or main course and it is really as easy as it looks. It will be done and ready to eat in about 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Tasty Lettuce Wraps
Note: My friend J (not the jam J, a different J) and I used to make this when I lived down in Miami about 5 years ago. I have since lost the original recipe, and I can't find the cookbook, but have pared down the recipe so much that it is totally different and one that I now call my own. For those looking for great Asian cookbooks, I'll try to dig it up and post some more recipes from it eventually.

1-2 heads butter lettuce (also called Boston or bibb lettuce)
1 jar hoisin sauce
1 can sliced water chesnuts, minced
1 knob fresh ginger
1 package ground turkey (or chicken or pork)
Kosher salt / freshly ground pepper
Garlic powder and/or minced fresh garlic
Vegetable oil

1. Add a swirl of oil to a saute pan and bring up to medium heat. Add fresh garlic (if you are using, not totally necessary). Saute for a few seconds. Add ground turkey. Break up the turkey with a wooden spoon until it is in small pieces, rather than large clumps (think sloppy joe style). After it has been cooking for a few minutes, season with salt/pepper/garlic powder.

2. Peel ginger (about a 1-inch knob) and use grater or zester to add it to the turkey mixture.

3. Add jar of hoisin sauce (the amount depends on the size of the jar - I usually get an approximately 8oz jar and add about 3/4 of it; if your jar is smaller, add the whole thing and if its bigger, use a bit less) and water chestnuts. Mix throughly. Let mixture continue to cook for a few minutes (lowish heat) until it is bubbling and uniform looking.

4. While cooking, wash, dry and separate lettuce leaves. I serve a portion of the hoisin turkey mixture in a small bowl with lettuce on the side for a dinner (with other side dishes; salad, dumplings, etc). Also works great as an appetizer - serve family style and let guests make their own wraps. This would be great paired up with sesame noodles and Asian-style chicken salad!


Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) said...

I like the light in your creates almost an "old style" look. Is it all natural light or do you use lights.

Jade said...

Hi Nina! I primarily use natural light for my food photographs, unless I happen to take them in the middle of the night :) This was shot in the evening, near a window with fading sunlight.

Joelen said...

Lettuce wraps are on my menu plan for the coming week - its such a light, healthy "taco" of sorts but more flavorful!

Cara said...

oooh I love lettuce wraps. Can't wait to make them again soon. Thanks for the reminder!