Perhaps my favorite Chinese restaurant in New York City is one that is close to my apartment on the East River midtown, the glorious Mr. Chow’s. One of my favorite dishes is minced chicken served in lettuce cups. So when I started to read Nigella Lawson’s cookbook years ago “Forever Summer” she had me with that title by the way. No surprise here that one of my favorite dishes would be her Thai Crumbled Beef in Lettuce Wraps! I’ve made this dish many , many times, especially for a quick week night recipe when you are looking for something light to eat, quick to make and delicious to eat. Below is my twist on her recipe, clearly inspired by the many Asian versions of minced meat served in lettuce. You will definitely want to try this recipe!
From by the bay, wishing you lovely food memories cupped in lettuce!
Spicy Asian Minced Beef in Lettuce Cups
Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s cookbook “Forever Summer”
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 red bird’s eye red chili, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound ground sirloin beef
1 tablespoon thai fish sauce ( nam pia)
4 scallions, white and light greens parts only, finely chopped
zest and juice of one lime
4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 head of iceberg or romaine lettuce, leaves separated
Put the oil in a non-stick frying pan on medium heat and when warm add the finely chopped chillies and garlic cook for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and saute another minute. Add the beef, turn up the heat and, break up the ground beef with a wooden spoon or fork, cook for 3 or 4 minutes till no trace of pink remains. Add the fish sauce and, still stirring, cook till the liquid’s evaporated. Off the heat, stir in the spring onions, zest and juice of the lime and most of the cilantro. Arrange the lettuce leaves on to a platter and fill each lettuce cup with a few spoonfuls of the spicy ground meat mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro.