No need to read out the complex recipe, only you’ll need is the time for chopping up vegetables.
Delicious Asian ground meat lettuce wraps can be ready in just 20 minutes.
Choose your preferred ground meat such as pork, chicken, turkey, beef, or pork & beef mix.
My hubby’s favorite dinner and he can eat lots of veggies without knowing how much I put in the dish.
Yet, his favorite is actually this Chunky Chicken Lettuce Wraps.
Still, you can make both savory quick dinners (but everybody loves them) with the same sauce.
- What’ll You Need
- Steps & Tips For Asian Recipes
- The Perfect Leftovers Recipe
- EASY SAVORY GROUND MEAT LETTUCE WRAP
What’ll You Need
What ground meat should you use to make Asian lettuce wraps?
Totally, it’s up to you!
Ground pork can be super-savory since the pork goes well with miso paste and Asian sauce, moreover, the fatting can bring, you know, rich flavor.
Yet, ground chicken/turkey can be used alternatively if you want to reduce calories.
Personally, I choose the pork&beef mix rather than beef-only.
Pre-cook ground meat to reduce the grease (that help remove the gamey flavor) and drain the grease with a colander if needed.
Personally, I like leaving lumps rather than breaking up the meat.
As I mentioned, my duty is to let my husband eat more veggies.
I use coarsely minced veggies like onion, carrot, bell pepper, mushroom, or whatever leftover vegetables.
I like sliced water chestnuts to give crunchiness so I put them no matter what.
I prefer not to use an electric (or manual) vegetable chopper since the chopped vegetables give unpleasant watery conditions while cooking.
Yet, I understand you’re busy so it’s up to you.
Try not to let them go too finely chopped.
Ginger and garlic are definitely essential to enhance more Asian flavor.
The main benefit is Transfering the flavor and aroma from these vegetables to the cooking oil brings the dish delicious naturally.
Indeed, these ingredients help cover the gamey flavor of the ground meat while adding the savory flavor.
In Japanese, we call them “komi yasai” which I can’t find the English translation.
I would say “the flavorful vegetables”-you surely have shared about onions, celery, and carrots for the broth.
For most stir-fried dishes that you want to make “Asian” fusion, Chinese five spices are a lifesaver to add exotic Asian flavor.
You can mix up cinnamon powder and ground cloves, and throw star anise in the marinade sauce if you don’t have Chinese Five spices in your pantry.
You know what?!
I don’t want to tell you, but, use all-spice as a substitute for Chinese five spices.
Just avoid adding these spices too much.
A unique electric feeling on your tongue with kicking and numbness.
Sichuan pepper- the spice indigenous to China and commonly used in Sichuan cuisine.
This spiciness is very different from hot chili peppers.
It’s totally an optional spice, even some people who don’t like the spicy and numb-snstion to their toungue want to avoid this unique Sichuan pepper.
Yet, it can give the authentic Chinese unique flavor to the dish instantly.
Shaoxing wine is also the most common ingredient in Chinese cuisine.
As well as the Chinese five spices or Sichuan pepper, this Chinese wine can provide authentic flavor instantly.
Yet, you don’t want to buy extra pantry ingredients just for Asian dishes,
white wine can be substituted.
What Kind of Lettuce for Lettuce Wraps?
For an example of iceberg lettuce, I remove the core by slamming the lettuce, core-side-down into the counter until the core will be free from the rest of the head.
You can wiggle and remove the core with your fingers.
For Romaine lettuce, I use green leaves only so that I cut off the white parts.
Steps & Tips For Asian Recipes
Prepare The Stir-Fry Sauce Mix Before Cooking
One of the important keys to making perfect crunchy stir-fry dishes is definitely “not over-cooked”.
Especially, Asian sauces need several kinds of condiments as you know, so you need to prepare the all measured ingredients for the sauce or seasonings set aside on the stove since as long as the vegetables are cooked, the dish gets water and becomes less crunchy.
When you see a kitchen in Chinese restaurants, you’ll understand how they’re prepared for seasoning and condiments.
Anyway, prepare the sauce in advance, and mix all ingredients in a bowl.
Add Sesame Oil To Finish
Drizzle high-quality toasted sesame oil on the stir-fried ground meat and stir a few times before serving.
Adding sesame oil to finish (not for cooking), gives a graze and savory sesame aroma.
You can drizzle Layu chili oil instead.
La-yu is chili oil made of hot chili peppers, roasted sesame oil, and other exotic spices, which is often used to add spicy and sesame oil’s aroma to gyoza dipping sauce, ramen soup, mainly Chinese dishes, and tofu dishes in Japan.
There are many recipes, yet, Layu is seemed to make by simmering several kinds of chili peppers, garlic, ginger, and other spices in oil.
Japanese La-yu has the iconic red color and is not super spicy-with well-balanced aromatic sesame oil and mild chili flavor.
Simple, Easy, But Supreme Savory Flavorful Japanese Layu.
You can find the Layu products easily in grocery stores, but,
Please try to make this Layu if your traditional Layu is not enough.
Thicken The Sauce
Depending types and volume of vegetables you’ll add to the stir-fry, the sauce often gets watery.
Add additional potato or cornstarch and water mixture to thicken the sauce.
Turn off the stove (so you will not rush), pour the mixture into several portions, and immediately stir well each time since the mixture will be lumpy.
Turn the heat on to medium-high, and cook the sauce enough to be thick.
Besides, I often add bean thread noodles to help the dish less watery since they will absorb the juice.
Rehydrate the noodles in boiled water, drain the noodles, and chop them into small pieces.
The Perfect Leftovers Recipe
I’ll tell you my cooking routine.
Whatever we roast the meat, I chop up the leftover meat and make lettuce wraps.
It is the perfect menu also to clean leftover vegetables.
The other day, I added minced short pasta! in this dish.
Discover your idea to use up leftovers!
In addition, make “NIKUMISO” miso-flavored ground meat as your meal prep.
This ground meat recipe is super versatile for a breakfast egg menu, an easy lunch sandwich, or a quick noodle dish for dinner.
Needless to say, you can make lettuce wrap in 10 minutes if you make NIKUMISO already.
I don’t know how many of you want to know about this leftover tip, but,
You can use the CHASHU sauce when you make homemade Chashu pork for ramen noodle soup at home.
Add 2/3 cup of chashu sauce instead of dark soy sauce, miso paste, sake, and oyster sauce.
Yet, you may want to add 1-2 tbsp of dark soy sauce to fix the flavor.
Moreover, you can use these homemade sauces as substitutes for dark soy sauce, miso paste, sake, and oyster sauce.
EASY SAVORY GROUND MEAT LETTUCE WRAP
- Lettuce for wraps
- 1.2-1.5 lb your choice of ground meat (pork/chicken/turkey/beef/pork&beef mix)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- ½-1 onion, minced
- ⅓ cup scallions, minced or chopped
- 1 cup mushrooms, minced
- 1 cup bell peppers, minced
- ½ cup sliced water chesnuts
- or your choice of vegetables, minced
- 1 TSP ginger, minced
- 1 TSP garlic, minced
- 1 TSP chili peppers, minced *fresh or dried *optional
- ground black pepper
- ¼ TSP Chinese five spices
- Sichuan pepper *optional
For The Stir-fry Sauce
- 3 tbsp red/ yellow miso paste or Hoisin sauce
- 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp Japanese sake/white wine/ Shaoxing wine
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- ¼ TSP Chinese chicken soup powder/ chicken soup powder
- 1 TSP gochujang *optional
- 2 TSP potato/corn starch + 2 TSP water, mixed
- 1 TSP toasted sesame oil/ Layu chili oil
- chopped cilantro/ chives/ scallions
- toasted sesame seeds
- Combine the stir-fry sauce in a small bowl. Set it aside.
- Oil the large skillet or wok with 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and cook ground meat until browned. Drain the grease if needed. Set the cooked meat aside.
- In the same skillet or wok that you cooked the meat in, heat the oil and sauté the minced ginger, minced garlic, minced onion, and minced scallion over medium-high heat until the onion is translucent.*Optionally, add chili peppers (or doubanjiang) if desired.
- Add minced mushrooms and saute for 1 minute and add the remaining vegetable items. Continue cooking until the vegetables are cooked but still remain crunchy texture.
- Put the cooked ground meat back, and stir well until all ingredients are combined over medium-high heat. Season ground black pepper to taste.
- Add the stir-fry sauce and immediately stir them well since the starch will be lumpy over medium-high / high heat. *Before adding the sauce, mix the mixture well. *It may be easier to gather the ingredients aside and pour the sauce mix into an empty area.
- Turn the heat down or off. Drizzle 1 tbsp of toasted sesame oil or Layu chili oil. Stir them a few times. Transfer the meat to a large platter and serve with lettuce wraps.