Sunday, July 10, 2011

Asian Lettuce Cups with Ground Turkey and Apple

Sorry P.F. Chang's. I adore the lettuce wraps on your menu, but sometimes it is just far more fun (not to mention healthier) to try some dishes at home. And for a touch of nostalgia, the assembly line quality was very reminiscent of family taco nights...everyone seems to layer everything just a little differently!

Adapted from Jaden Hair's recipe at Steamy Kitchen

serves 4

The Ingredients:

The Sauce:

1 1/2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp Sriracha hot sauce

1 tsp finely minced garlic
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 stalks scallions
1 lb ground turkey or chicken
2 cups mixed vegetables (frozen pea/carrots, finely diced bell peppers, etc.)
1/2 green apple, finely diced

1 head Boston bibb lettuce, leaves washed and separated
2 skeins, mung bean noodles
2 medium carrots, finely shredded

The Process:

To fry the mung bean noodles, heat a wok or small sauce pan with about 2 inches of cooking oil. While oil is heating to 375F, use your hands to separate the strands of the mung bean noodle into small clumps. When oil hot, fry one batch at a time. It should only take 10 seconds to fry. Remove, drain on paper towels.

Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.

To make the filling, heat wok on high heat with cooking oil. When oil is hot, add scallions, ginger and garlic and fry a few seconds until fragrant. Add turkey or chicken and fry until almost cooked through. Add the vegetables and cook 1 minute. Add sauce ingredients. Let simmer for 1 minute to thicken slightly.

Add the apples. Toss to coat. Immediately remove from heat. You don’t want to “cook” the apples – keep them nice and crunchy. Serve with lettuce cups, carrot shavings and fried mung bean noodles.

My Modifications:

I omitted the shredded carrots for garnish, but otherwise followed the recipe as written.

The Review:
These cups were fun! Frying the mung beans was a little bit of magic. In a mere seconds upon hitting the oil they sizzled and doubled in size. You'll need to watch these noodles very carefully as you prepare them.

The cups were fun to assemble. Ross opted to place the noodles on the lettuce leaves first, and then top them with the filling. The sizzle and pop of the mung bean noodles really amused him! I opted to sprinkle the noodles on top of the filling...keeping them a little crunchier longer.

Overall the dish was a great blend of flavors and textures, with just enough heat to warm the lips without leaving you clutching you're throat. I tend to be a bit stingy with Srirachi, though. If you like it hot, pile on the hot sauce.

Keep a paper towel or two handy though. Unless you find very sturdy lettuce leaves, the cup have a tendency to fall apart!

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