"The people who give you their food give you their heart" - Cesar Chavez

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Thai Lettuce Wraps

For one of my best friend's, Maxine's, 24th birthday - we had a big birthday feast at my apartment and one of the main dishes were these 'assemble-your-own' Thai lettuce wraps. My first experience with lettuce wraps was in 2005 at the Cheesecake Factory. I'd say that the lettuce wraps are on par with the cheesecake at this chain. Crisp cold wedges of iceberg lettuce holding a warm tofu or chicken mixture and an assortment of freshly grated vegetables. These are also a healthy and delicious party food that is easy to prepare - the majority of the work is in prepping all the ingredients. Thai lettuce wraps should be served with an assortment of sauces. We hat a sweet and sour peach chili sauce, a hot chili sauce and a smoky Thai peanut sauce. Here is the birthday girl with her lettuce wrap:
Thai Lettuce Wraps
(Serves 8)

1 head of iceberg lettuce
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 thumb-size pieces of ginger, minced
2 red chilis minced
1 cup firm tofu, sliced into matchsticks
1 cup cooked chicken
2 carrots, grated
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
2 eggs
1 cup shredded red cabbage
6 green onions, sliced into matchsticks
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
Canola oil

1 bunch of Thai basil, thinly sliced
1 cup peanuts, roughly chopped

1. Pour oil into a wok over medium high heat. Add garlic, ginger and chili. Stir-fry for one minute until fragrant.
2. Add the chicken, carrots, cabbage and green onions. As you stir fry add the lime juice, soy sauce, fish sauce and oyster sauce. Add in the tofu, toss to coat with the sauces and stir-fry for about 1 minute.
3. Push the ingredients to the side of the wok and crack the eggs into the wok. Stir-fry quickly to break the yolk. Mix in with the other ingredients.
4. Remove from heat and do a taste test. This is one of the most important parts about preparing stir-fry. If it is too salty add in additional ingredients to absorb the sauce, if it needs more punch - add in a little more lime or fish sauce.
5. Cut off the stem part of the iceberg lettuce and separate the leaves.
6. Place leaves on a dish, stir-fry filling in a separate dish, sauces in small bowls, and any additional toppings on a plate (i.e. sliced cucumbers, bean sprouts, basil, crushed peanuts, lime wedges). Enjoy!

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