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

Vietnamese Noodles with Peanut Sauce Tofu (Bún)

Vietnamese Noodles - Bake Braise & Broil

This is one of my absolute favourite dishes to serve friends who haven't had much experience with Vietnamese dishes, or aren't into "salads". It's basically a bunch of fresh and quick-pickled vegetables, herbs, a protein, and a delicious umami-sour dressing over a bed of rice noodles. I personally don't think it constitutes a salad, but apparently the internet insists on calling it a salad. Don't let that throw you off, though - this dish is incredibly filling, fresh, and incredibly versatile. Every bite is a flavour burst - sour, umami, salty, herby freshness, peanut butter!! I love it.

You can make this with all kinds of meats, but this time I made it with peanut-sauce coated tofu.

Vietnamese Noodles Tofu Press - Bake Braise & Broil

The first thing I do is press the tofu to squeeze out some liquid. In theory I start well before I want to make the meal, but in reality I end up us doing this an hour or two before - the longer you go, the crunchier your final product will be. I do this in a really logical manner... tofu goes between two not-flat plates, on top of which a precarious pile of books gets built. Usually this pile falls off once or twice...(or ten times). There's probably an easier way to do this. Please tell me how.

Vietnamese Noodles Carrots - Bake Braise & Broil

In between bouts of picking up the perilous tofu book-tower, I prep the other parts of the dish. First, the pickled things. I happened to have pickled carrots already in the fridge, but you can easily quick-pickle other vegetables (daikon, radish, anything firm and crunchy) in vinegar, a pinch of sugar, and salt. You can use a vegetable peeler to make thin strips if you want to do this really quickly.

Vietnamese Noodles Fresh - Bake Braise & Broil

Then, prep the fresh items - really thinly cut iceberg lettuce, herbs (mint makes it amazing, and basil and coriander often make appearances in my version), and cucumber. At this point I also get some water boiling for the rice noodles (they only need to go in until just soft, then drained quickly to stop the cooking). If you want a hot dish, then start this later, if you want a cold dish, you can do this earlier. I think warm is just right.

Vietnamese Noodles Sauce - Bake Braise & Broil

The sauce gets made - it's part fish sauce, lime, and brown sugar, then diluted with hot water. Chop in some fresh chillies if you want a spicy kick. I've made it once with soy sauce instead of fish sauce to make it vegatarian, it was a pretty good substitution (gotta pump up the lime though).

When all that is prepped, my attention goes back to the tofu. I pour off the liquid and cut it into sticks. 

Vietnamese Noodles Tofu - Bake Braise & Broil
Vietnamese Noodles Tofu 2 - Bake Braise & Broil

Then, I coat them in a generous layer of cornstarch, and into a well-oiled pan at med-high heat.

Vietnamese Noodles Tofu Cornstarch - Bake Braise & Broil

A thick sauce made up of peanut butter, soy sauce, and chillies gets poured directly onto the fried tofu.

 
Vietnamese Noodles Peanut Tofu - Bake Braise & Broil

Still on high heat, the tofu gets fully smothered in the sauce, until it's all hot.

Vietnamese Noodles Peanut Tofu - Bake Braise & Broil
Vietnamese Noodles Lemongrass - Bake Braise & Broil

For some extra crunch, I fried up the white parts of a few stalks of lemon grass - to be honest, I don't think this added much to the dish... though it does make it fancier! Stick to the usual roasted peanuts for crunch.

Vietnamese Noodles Mixed - Bake Braise & Broil
Kim's-Blog-Signature-Web-Optimized.jpg

 

The final step is to pile it all on top of the noodles, then pour on some sauce and mix it all around. This is a great meal to feed a group, as everyone can cater to their own preferences. 

Hope you love the fresh flavours as much as I do!

 

Recipe here.