Often times, people ask me how I manage to cook after teaching all day. Like anything else, it’s all about priorities. How do people make it to the gym in the morning? (I’ll never know.) Cooking and blogging are my hobbies and I am dedicated, but even I get tired and unmotivated…
Today is a good post for three reasons:
1.) It’s low-carb for my dieting audience; it’s practically guilt-free.
2.) Dinner in a flash: it is truly a 15 minute meal.
3.) It’s cheaper and tastier than take-out (so long as you have Asian staples in your pantry!)
For some reason, I have been craving lettuce wraps. I know it sounds ridiculous; it’s not fried or fat-laden. Maybe I am secretly feeling guilty about all my pasta creations. I seriously ate tortellini almost every day last week, and believe it or not, I am actually tired of it. Lettuce wraps are very light without feeling boring or tasteless. Now I hate to be a pain, but you really can’t just use any lettuce you have laying around. You need a sturdy lettuce in the butter lettuce family: Bibb, Butter, or Boston lettuce works just fine. If you use any other lettuce, it may not be able to withhold the filling.
Many different regions of Asia offer a slightly different take of the lettuce wrap. In particular, different proteins are incorporated. I’ve had chicken, duck, shrimp, beef, and pork in my lettuce wraps. In Korea, bulgogi-marinated chicken is trendy, and probably some brine-filled kimchi on top. They’re also not called “lettuce wraps” but rather are called Ssam or Bossam (popular varieties). Ssam looks like a typo to us Anglo-speaking Americans, eh? 🙂 There is usually some sort of combination of textures to compliment the meat, such as a purple shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, nuts, green onions, etc.
Depending which region of Asia I want to channel will determine what I put in my wrap; for example, if I want Thai, I’ll add some sweet chiles, shrimp, and peanut sauce. Today, I was craving Korean and Chinese, and the answer to my craving is this: use Hoisin sauce. Hoisin is technically Chinese, but to me, it’s perfect for a base of a Korean BBQ Style sauce.
If you don’t already have Hoisin sauce, go get it. It is great sweet and sour Asian BBQ. There are so many intense flavors that a very little bit goes a long way. I like to use Hoisin for my favorite Sticky Garlic Chicken…delicious.
The Sriracha Cream sauce is optional, but I think it really compliments the Hoisin sweet and sour profile well. These wraps are addicting as there is a balance of spice from the Sriracha and red pepper flake, sweetness from the honey and Hoisin, and coolness from the lettuce and the sour cream.
Dieters, time-crunchers, and take-out lovers rejoice for this deliciously easy 15 minute dinner. Feel free to make substitutions and additions; make this wrap yours. Enjoy!
- 1 pound ground beef (I prefer 80:20 or 85:15 fat ratio, otherwise, you’ll need a bit of oil)
- 2 -inch piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 2 scallions/green onions, chopped** (I ran out today, so this is optional)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 1/4 cup of sesame seeds (toasted, if available)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 head Boston, Bibb, or Butter lettuce; leaves separated, cleaned and dried
- 1/4 cup of Sriracha sauce (you could make more or less depending on your needs; make sure it’s equal to the amount of sour cream/mayo for heat)
- 1/4 cup of Sour Cream (you may use mayonnaise if you want, but I never have it around. I hate it!)
- 1 cup of white rice
- Start the beef: In a skillet over medium-high heat, sauté beef until brown.
- Prep: While your beef is cooking, prep your ginger, scallions, and garlic. Also, make your sauce (if desired). Mix equal parts of Sriracha and sour cream (or mayo–you need a creamy consistency.) If you rather there be less heat, add more cream and less Sriracha. If you rather there be more spice, add more Sriracha and less sour cream.
- Make the rice: In a separate pot, portion out one cup of rice to two cups of water on high heat. Once the water is boiling, cover the pot and do not open for 10-15 minutes. Be sure to drop the heat to low once you put the lid on (that makes my rice perfect every time.)
- Back to the beef: Stir in ginger, scallions, garlic, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and hoisin and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the sesame seeds. Season with salt and pepper (taste first: Hoisin and soy sauce are salty!).
- All together: Once meat and rice are cooked, pull a lettuce leaf for each serving. Put rice on the leaf first, then top it with the beef. Feel free to add the green onions/scallions and other toppings of your choice (shredded purple cabbage, shredded carrots, peanuts, etc.) Wrap it tightly like a mini-burrito and enjoy! 🙂