A couple of months ago I made some lettuce wraps for supper. I hadn’t used a recipe, and fried up some chicken and added seasoning, threw them on romaine, and called it supper. Well… they looked bad. So bad that we said prayer, and then Gene said: “It looks like a dog pooped on a leaf.” I know that it’s never popular to make your husband sound less than wonderful when you blog about him. In his defense, as soon as the words were out of his mouth he apologized. (profusely!) That particular night, I found it hilarious. Like bend over laughing and choking hilarious. So funny that the kids were like, “What’s so funny, what’s so funny?” Of course I told them, because few people enjoy a potty joke at supper time like a four and six year old. So that supper brings back nothing but happy memories…. except for the food itself.
Fast forward to yesterday. I found fabulous Thai lettuce wraps online. They are incredible. They are flavorful. They are lettuce wrap redemption and more. This spring when your garden is bursting with Boston leaf lettuce and cilantro, please make them.
3 Tbsp roasted rice powder
2-1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
¼ C Chicken broth
1 large or 2 small shallots finely sliced
3Tbsp lime juice (I substituted lemon)
3 Tbsp cilantro finely chopped
2 Tbsp sugar
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
1 lb pork tenderloin
Boston leaf lettuce
Now the two ingredients that people might not have on hand are the roasted rice powder and the fish sauce. For the rice powder I toasted 3 tbsp rice in a skillet until it was brown and nutty (5 min?) and then ground it up in blender. It worked fine. The fish sauce will set you back about 7 or 8 bucks at the supermarket. Then you have it for all the other Asian or Thai dishes you want to make. It kind of has a stinky socks quality to it, but don’t be disheartened, it’s worth it.
On to the recipe. Chunk the tenderloin and throw it in the freezer for about 10 minutes to firm it up. Then in batches grind it in your food processor. Grind until chunky, not pasty. Why not just buy ground pork? It would be too greasy. Greasy is not what we’re after here. Pour 1 Tbsp fish sauce over the meat, and set aside for a few minutes to marinade.
Heat chicken broth over medium/high heat, and then brown your pork in the broth. When it’s cooked, stir in one Tbsp of rice powder, to absorb some of the juice. Remove from heat, and let cool a minute or two.
Add shallots, lime, cilantro, sugar, red pepper, the rest of fish sauce, and the rest of the rice powder. Mix.
Dollop on your choice of lettuce, (I used iceberg, and would not recommend that) roll up. It is drippy and yummy and fresh. Try to stop eating after one wrap. It’s impossible I tell you.
A few more notes: I loved it, and my kids ate it (the filling anyway) so that means success. While the meat was cooking in the fish sauce it smells a little nasty. Push through. It was the first time I made it, but from start to finish it took less than an hour. With practice I think it can be cranked out in half an hour.
Good Weekend Everyone!
I got the recipe from Americas Test Kitchen. If you are like me, a stop there means hours of time lost.