Recently, James and I went to a Vietnamese restaurant for lunch and I ordered the sweet and sour soup. While I enjoyed their version, I was itching to get home and try it out for myself. If you’re familiar with Vietnamese cuisine at all then you’ve probably […]
Vietnam was a French colony for about 100 years and this sandwich is a product of that era. The French influence comes from the baguette, mayonnaise and paté but the Vietnamese hot, sour and herb flavors really shine through. It’s pronounced Bah (like humbug) and me. James […]
Casual, flavorful and low in carbohydrates, these Vietnamese Pork Lettuce Wraps are a perfect and low-fuss way to feed a group. By keeping all the ingredients separate for people to assemble themselves, the dish becomes an interactive meal personalized to each guests individual tastes. Pork serves as the foundation to the dish, while pickled veggies and fresh herbs bring depth to each bite. Finishing it all off is a sweet drizzle of Hoisin sauce, crushed peanuts and finely chopped jalapenos for heat.
Pickled Carrots and Onions:
- 2 whole carrots
- 1/2 white onion
- 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbs white vinegar
- 2 tbs Splenda
- 1 lbs ground lean pork
- 1 Jalapeno chili
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 english seedless cucumber
- 1/2 cup fresh chopped mint
- 1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
- 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
- 3 chopped fresh scallions
- 1 lime, juiced and zested
- 1 1/2 tbs soy sauce
- 1 tbs mirin
- 1/2 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tbs fresh minced ginger
- 1 tbs lemongrass paste
- canola oil
- 2 heads of bibb lettuce
- 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
- Hoisin sauce
- 1 lime for garnishing
Pickle the carrots and onions:
- Peel the carrots normally and discard the exterior, then use the peeler to shave down the carrots into thin strips.
- Cut the onion in half, then half again and slice into strips.
- Add the sliced onion and carrot strips to a non-metalic bowl, stir in the white vinegar, rice wine vinegar and splenda.
- Stir to combine and set aside for at least 1/2 hour.
Prepare and cook the ingredients for the wraps:
- Quarter and chop the english seedless cucumber, add to a serving dish and set aside.
- Half the red bell pepper discarding the seeds and chop the remainder. Add to a serving dish and set aside.
- Roughly chop the mint, basil, cilantro, and scallions and place in individual serving dishes. You should have enough to loosely fill a 1/2 cup measure.
- If you don’t have chopped peanuts, measure out about 1/4 cup of cocktail peanuts, add to a sandwich bag and bash them with the back of a pot. Set aside for garnishing.
- Slice open the jalapeno pepper and discard half the seeds and ribs. Finely chop the remainder and set aside in a serving dish.
- Start a pan over medium high heat. Add about a tablespoon of canola oil and the minced garlic. Allow to come to full heat, but keep an eye on the garlic so it doesn’t brown.
- Add the ground pork, season with salt and pepper and allow to cook for about a minute while breaking up the meat.
- Add in the ground ginger, minced lemongrass, soy sauce, mirin and fish sauce. Toss well to coat and continue to cook until all the pork is browned.
- Using a slotted spoon, move the cooked ground pork to a serving dish leaving the fat behind in the pan.
- Assemble your wraps using a leaf of bibb lettuce, a spoonful of pork, bell pepper, cucumber, fresh herbs, scallions, hoisin sauce, peanuts and jalapenos to taste.
- Most supermarkets now stock pre-minced lemongrass in a tube. Look for it near the fresh herbs.
- If splenda isn’t your thing, substitute about 1/4 cup of sugar instead.