Butter lettuce cups

Chinese lettuce wraps are so easy to make and are great for entertaining, especially for a DIY meal.  There is no carb in this recipe, making it great for those looking for a healthy meal.  I'll let you in on a secret...If you have any of the potsticker or dumpling filling left over, stir fry the filling, add a few extra ingredients and make lettuce wraps!  This Chinese lettuce wraps filling has additional ingredients that give it an extra crunch.  Unlike many recipes that are drenched in a heavy sauce that is either too salty or too sweet, this Chinese lettuce wrap recipe allows the individual ingredients to showcase themselves and allows each person to add as much or as little sauce as they would like when assembling their wraps. 

Tips for making Chinese lettuce wraps.

Meat.

Ground chicken, turkey and pork are preferable as these meats tend to take on the flavor of the marinade.  Beef and lamb can be used, but these meats have a stronger, meatier flavor. It is important to marinate the meat before stir frying to allow the meat to have a good flavor.

Chinese sausage

Morsels of Chinese sausage is key to a good filling.  This not only provides color, but also a good flavor.  Dice the Chinese sausage and saute it first to render (melt) the fat in which the rest of the ingredients can be fried.

Chinese sausage

Lettuce.

Use lettuce that you can roll. Iceberg and butter lettuce work well.  If you are using iceberg lettuce, remove the core and gently separate the leaves.  Use a pair of scissors to cut them into the cup shape that will hold the filling.  Don't throw away the unused iceberg lettuce scraps.  Add the shredded lettuce to fried rice.  A friend of ours from Washington added it to fried rice and it added a nice crunch. Iceberg lettuce gives the wraps more of a crunch than butter lettuce.  

Butter lettuce is definitely easier to work with and the color is a lot brighter than iceberg lettuce.  I find romaine lettuce not as easy to wrap due to its shape and the firmer core.

Lotus root.

Fresh lotus roots are great to add to stir fries for an additional crunch.  Not only does it provide a sweet crunch, but it also has many health benefits. The key is not to overcook lotus root otherwise it will start to become sticky.  Lotus root can be found in Asian grocery stores. When picking a lotus root, make sure that the ends are sealed and no holes are exposed.  You will be cutting these ends off, but make sure that no critters took up residence in the lotus root as a result of the holes.

fresh lotus root
lotus root with no holes

Jicama.

I oftentimes substitute jicama for water chestnuts.  Jicama is a crunchy tuber with a similar texture to water chestnuts.  Remove the fiberous outer layer with a peeler.  Since jicama can be difficult to cut, cut the jicama in half and place the flat side on the cutting board before cutting it into slices, strips and then dices.  This will prevent knife injuries!

jicama

Jicama


Garnishes for the Chinese lettuce wraps.

To add some color to the meat mixture, add shredded carrots, chopped scallions, fresh cilantro and toasted pine nuts.

Close up of lettuce cups

Lettuce cups with butter lettuce

Sauce for the Chinese lettuce wraps.

Hoisin sauce is a sweet and tangy sauce that is a great accompaniment.  I don't add a lot to the meat mixture, because it makes it too sweet.  Allow your guests to add their own amount of hoisin sauce.  Chili sauce like sirracha can also be added for spiciness!

hoisin sauce

Hoisin sauce

srirarcha chili sauce

Srirarcha chili sauce

Close up of lettuce cups

CHINESE LETTUCE WRAPS

Michelle Sam
Healthy Chinese lettuce wraps are simple, healthy, delicious and great for entertaining.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 30 mins
Soaking dried mushrooms, marinating 4 hrs
Total Time 7 hrs 30 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 8 wraps
Calories 520 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
 
 

  • 454 g ground meat chicken, pork, lamb
  • 1 stick Chinese sausage.
  • 250 g jicama or water chestnuts 1 small jicama or 1 small 8 oz. can of water chestnuts for 1x recipe
  • 250 g fresh lotus root. 1 small tuber for 1x recipe
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil.
  • ½ tsp chicken bouillon powder Salt can be substituted
  • 2 Tbsp light soy sauce Mixed with 2 cups water for soaking mushrooms
  • 30 grams dried shitake mushrooms
  • 2 cups water For soaking dried shitake mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chopped garlic

Meat marinade

Garnish

  • 1 head iceberg or butter lettuce
  • 50 grams scallions
  • Hoisin Sauce
  • cilantro, carrot slivers, pine nuts
  • Sirracha chili sauce

Instructions
 

Soak mushrooms

  • In a bowl, wash and soak mushrooms overnight
    2 cups water, 2 Tbsp light soy sauce

Prep vegetables and sausage

  • Peel and dice vegetables into small dice sized pieces
    250 g jicama or water chestnuts, 250 g fresh lotus root., 30 grams dried shitake mushrooms
  • Dice Chinese sausage
    1 stick Chinese sausage.

Marinate meat

  • Mix meat with corn starch, salt, sugar, pepper, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, whiskey and sesame oil or use bulk marinade (2 Tbsp with 1 tsp corn starch) plus hoisin sauce
    ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp white pepper, ¼ tsp sugar, 1 Tbsp light soy sauce, ½ Tbsp sesame oil, 1 Tbsp whiskey, 1 Tbsp Hoisin Sauce, 1 tsp corn starch
  • Marinate for at least 1 hour.
  • Heat a frying pan or wok.
  • Add diced Chinese sausage to render fat. Remove sausage and place in a container.
  • Add chopped garlic
    1 Tbsp fresh chopped garlic
  • Stir fry meat until almost cooked.
    454 g ground meat
  • Remove from wok and place in container with sausage.
  • Heat cooking oil.
    2 Tbsp cooking oil.
  • Fry the diced vegetables (except scallions) in oil. Do not overcook the lotus root and water chestnuts.
    250 g jicama or water chestnuts, 250 g fresh lotus root., 30 grams dried shitake mushrooms
  • Add the meat back into the pan or wok and mix together.
  • Add the chicken bouillon powder for taste, if needed.
    ½ tsp chicken bouillon powder
  • Add scallions and mix.
    50 grams scallions
  • Serve mixture with lettuce and hoisin sauce.
    1 head iceberg or butter lettuce, Hoisin Sauce, cilantro, carrot slivers, pine nuts, Sirracha chili sauce

Notes

This recipe make 8 wraps

Nutrition

Serving: 8wrapsCalories: 520kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 25gFat: 32gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 81mgSodium: 1291mgPotassium: 961mgFiber: 7gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 135IUVitamin C: 32mgCalcium: 74mgIron: 5mgNet Carbohydrates: 26g
Keyword black fungus, chicken, dumplings, gyoza, lamb, meat, pork, potstickers, shitake mushrooms, Shrimp, vegetables, water chestnuts
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