May 14, 2010 § 10 Comments
We got some wonderful Bibb lettuce in the last CAS box, which I thought some lettuce wraps would go nicely with it. Ah, lettuce wraps.
Lettuce wraps = Grandmother
Grandmother = love
I know I’ve said this before but she was such a huge influence in my life. I thought maybe a (very) late Mother’s Day post was in order here. You see, when I was very very young, my grandmother (Nai-nai) would make lettuce wraps just for the two of us. Not a particular significant thing except the fact that at the time, it was a rather large household back then, 3 generations. But the lettuce wraps were something only her and I shared together.
She would usually do this as kind of a before-bedtime “Nai-nai, I’m hungry” kind of thing. She would heat up leftovers from that evening’s meal, then we would eat it with leftover white rice and lettuce. In all honesty, I can’t remember a thing about how they tasted. Only that I loved sitting there and eating them with her. We always ate at the coffee table on the couch (a no-no for everyone else but we did it anyway).
This recipe is one from a Wei-Chuan cookbook. I made some slight modifications using what I had on hand. But lettuce wraps can be made with pretty much anything you like, or in my grandmother’s case, leftover from dinner!
- 1/2 lb ground beef (or any other ground meat you prefer)
- 2 green onions, cut into small pieces
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 can (8 oz) water chestnuts, diced
- 4 medium dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 head of Bibb lettuce (or iceberg), leaves rinsed and dried
- 2 Tbsp cooking oil
- Steam white rice (optional)
- 1 Tbsp Shaoxing wine
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil (optional)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- Pinch of red chili flakes
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp Chinese hot mustard
- 2 tsp chili garlic sauce
- 2 Tbsp sugar
Soak the mushrooms in warm water for 30 minutes. In the meantime, rinse the lettuce leaves and dry. A salad spinner really helps if you have one. Put into the fridge until needed.
If water chestnuts are whole or sliced, cut them into tiny pieces. Set aside.
Remove mushrooms from water after 30 minutes. Dry them, cut off stem and chop into tiny pieces, about the same size as the water chestnuts. Set aside.
In a wok, heat up cooking oil. Stir-fry meat until cooked. Add green onions and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add mushrooms and water chestnuts and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add cooking sauce and combine everything together. Stir-fry for another 2 minutes to let the flavors meld.
The way I make my lettuce wraps is to put some rice on the lettuce. Spoon a good amount of the ground beef mixture on top of the rice. Then drizzle some Dipping Sauce over everything and then chow down. It’s messy but good.
Another thing that can be added to this is some deep-fried rice noodles. I’m not particularly fond of this since I find the fried rice noodles a bit like styrofoam after a while. But if you like them, by all means.
So to “wrap” up this post, thought I’d share a picture of my grandmother and me from way back when. Can anyone guess what that body of water is behind us? Wow, sure was windy that day. And don’t anyone laugh at that green muumuu!! My mother made it for me and I loved wearing it!
Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!