Keep'n-it-healthy Asian Lettuce Wraps

Asian Lettuce Wraps Recipe

WOW. And I mean 'wow' in a lot of ways...

Wow, the support I have received is a little overwhelming - for those who wrote in asking are you alive? Did all the deep-frying catch up to you? Or (most often) when's the next blog post?!  Thank-you. It means a lot to know people look forward to reading my recipes & rantings. 

Which brings me to wow - life changes quickly - and drastically. My life kind of kicked into overdrive these last few months and conspired to rob me of time to do what I love - like this blog. 

BUT - I'm BACK and I'm pretty excited about it! To keep these posts coming, a couple things are changing.

First, I'm scaling back my posts - one a week on average now - but rest assured, this is going to be a quality over quantity kind of change. Expect great things.

Second, to save time and be able to deliver great content, the style of entries are changing. Instead of photographing recipes "step-by-step" i'll only be posting shots of the completed recipe... or what's left of it after I 'sample' some. I know the step-by-step photos can be handy (I like them too!) but they really are a lot of work. Imagine running with a 400 degree cast-iron pan to the window mid-sauté, setting up your shot, then running back the stove to continue cooking all the while screaming shit-shit-shit,this is hot. It's a lot of work. So now you get the delicious conclusive shot, from the beginning - every time. I think it's going to be great.

The last thing: wow - I'm fat. Which brings us to todays post. This whole blog being a 'how-to guide on making your friends fat' kind of back-fired. So, starting here - some new recipes to keep you trim and slim.  These are the recipes I use to keep me on track. They're high on flavour without packing on the pounds and I will mark them with the Bake, Braise & Broil "Certified Healthy" seal.  It's a new series on the blog and it's my hope these recipes can form the foundation of a healthy diet. And that starts with one of my favourites: Asian Lettuce Wraps.


Kinda Healthy Recipe
Asian Lettuce Wraps Recipe

My first confession with these guys is I DOUBLE the sauce. It's not conventional, I know. But - well - I love sauce. Like, equal parts fries:ketchup.  If you're the same, I recommend doubling down.  For the rest of you 'normal' people, the recipe below should satisfy unaltered. 


Keep'n-it-healthy Asian Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients

For the filling:

  • 1 lb ground turkey

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 onion, finely diced

  • 6 cloves of garlic

  • 1 tsp red chili flakes

  • 1 tbsp grated ginger

  • 1 cup water chestnuts, roughly chopped

For the sauce: 

  • 1/4 cup hoisin suce

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce

  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

  • 1 tsp sriracha

  • 1 tsp sesame oil

For the wraps:

 

Directions

  1. In large fyring-pan, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add ground turkey and cook until browned; season with salt and pepper. Remove from frying pan and set aside.

  2. Heat remaining tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, 5-10 minutes. Add garlic, chili flakes and ginger and cook until fragrant, 2-3 minutes more. Add water chestnuts and stir to combine. Take off heat. 

  3. In bowl, whisk together hoisin, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sriracha and sesame oil. Reserve 1-2 tbsp for drizzling over lettuce wraps at the end.  

  4. When ready to eat, combine browned turkey with onion mixture and heat over medium heat in frying pan. Pour sauce over mixture and heat until bubbling.

  5. To serve, throw all components on the table and let people loose. Fill lettuce with filling, pickled carrots, toasted peanuts and, if you are a sauce-hound, drizzle with remaining sauce. 

 

 

 


Keep'n-it-healthy Asian Lettuce Wraps

Hope you guys enjoy!

 
James Ede

Hummus with Eggplant Stew

Hummus with Eggplant Stew cover

Hummus, (much like the mighty avocado), is often downplayed as the sidekick, but in this meal it is a co-conspirator of awesomeness. You can really fill this hummus bowl with anything, but my favourite is eggplant stew. This dish was inspired by one of our favourite restaurants in Stockholm, the cozy Reggev Hummus ("We are all hummussapiens"), where they serve up this dish with different combinations. They also serve this dish with an amazing dollop of lemongrass chili sauce. I haven't mastered this yet, but will add it on here when I do because it really makes this dish phenomenal.

While you have to make a couple different components for this dish, it's a relatively straightforward, cheap, and a crowd-pleaser. We like to make our stews pretty thick for this dish so that you can just use the naan or pita to scoop it right up, so no utensils needed!

We make our naan using Aarti's Sequeira's recipe - it's not very finicky, and the only thing you need to be aware of is that it's really really wet...I barely knead it, just mix it all really well and let it sit. When you are ready to roll it, use liberal amounts of flour! This is how mine looks before rising:

While the dough is rising, start your stew. First, fry up vegetables (onions, garlic, eggplant) to get some browning going, then add spices (cumin, paprika, cinnamon, chili flakes, salt, bay leaf) for a couple of minutes until fragrant. The cinnamon is super important, and I Iike to throw in both the powdered and stick form. The tomatoes go in last (canned, here), and I simmer this for a bit until it's thickened properly. The length of this step will likely be dependent on the tomatoes you choose to use. I find that some canned tomatoes require some major tweaking...addition of sweetener such as brown sugar or acidity such as lemon or vinegar may be necessary.

Hummus with Eggplant Stew

When the stew is simmering, it's time to start your hummus. I personally like a really smooth, fluffy light hummus - I'm not sure if it's just my imagination, but I've tried a bunch of different things (for example, shelling all the chickpeas, which I swore by until I tried this)...and it seems like just boiling the chickpeas until hot and using the boiling liquid for blending is the secret! Try it out and let me know if it worked for you. (I should note...the hummus I made today doesn't look that smooth because I was trying a new brand of roasted tahini that wasn't completely blended, so the little bits are probably sesame seeds. I'll never use it again.)

Hummus with Eggplant Stew chickpeas

Reserve the boiling liquid, and take those hot chickpeas and add tahini, smoked paprika, cumin, salt and of lemon. Blend, and keep adding the reserved chickpea liquid until it's super smooth and the right consistency. I do the bowl test...if you can smear it around the sides of bowl without it sliding down, it's good to go!

Hummus with Eggplant stew lemon
Hummus and Eggplant Stew chickpea liquid
Hummus and Eggplant Stew hummus

If you're making your own bread accompaniment, this is the time to do it...otherwise, schmear that hummus on the sides of a bowl, spoon in some stew, and top with a handful of cilantro. Dig in while it's warm!

Hummus with Eggplant Stew final

While I love this eggplant stew, I would love to hear more ideas from you guys of other dishes that would go well with hummus! I'm always looking to change it up!

 

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