Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Chinese Pork or Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Spicy Hoisin Sauce

I adapted this from Bee Yinn Low's Easy Chinese Recipes, which is her take on a recipe made famous and ubiquitous by the PF Chang restaurant chain. However, I prefer to use ground pork rather than ground chicken in this preparation because it's juicier and more flavorful, and I've also modified the quantities of the seasoning and sauce ingredients. The crispy, crunchy lettuce leaves make the perfect and refreshingly crisp wraps for the flavorful meat filling. 

2 lbs. ground pork (or chicken)
12 small to medium shiitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water to soften, squeezed dry, stemmed and finely chopped
1 8-oz. can sliced water chestnuts, minced
6 scallions, chopped

3 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. oyster sauce
2 tbsp. dark soy sauce
1 tbsp. sesame oil
2 tbsp. rice wine
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. white pepper

8 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp. vegetable oil
3/4 tsp. kosher salt or to taste

8 tbsp. Hoisin sauce
1 tsp. Sriracha or other Chinese chile garlic sauce
6 tbsp. water

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 Fresno (red jalapeno) chiles, seeded and thinly sliced
3 scallions, finely chopped

1 head iceberg lettuce, washed & with leaves separated
AND/OR red or green oak leaf lettuce leaves

1. Mix the ground pork, chopped shiitakes, minced water chestnuts, scallions, and seasoning sauce together until well blended. Let marinate for 20-30 minutes.

2. Combine the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

3. Heat 4 tbsp. oil in a large wok or saute pan over high heat. Saute the minced garlic until lightly browned. Add the meat mixture and Stir well to combine. 

4. When the meat mixture has just cooked through, season with 3/4 tsp. of kosher salt if needed, or to taste. 

5. To serve: you can let your guests serve themselves by doing this buffet style (meat mixture, sauce, garnishes and lettuce leaves on separate bowls/platters or place lettuce leaves on separate plates, topping with each with a couple spoonfuls of meat filling, garnishing with cilantro, chiles and/or chopped scallion, and a drizzle of the spicy Hoisin sauce. Whatever floats your boat. 

6. To eat: roll up the lettuce wrap over the filling (like you would a burrito or spring roll) and it's ready to eat. Bon appetite!

Rehydrate the shiitake mushrooms in very warm water. 

Chopped garlic, water chestnuts, shiitake mushrooms, Fresno smiles, scallions, and cilantro. 

Combine the ground meat with minced water chestnuts, shiitakes, scallions, and seasoning sauce. Let marinate 20-30 minutes. 

Dark soy sauce, regular soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, oyster sauce, white pepper, and sesame oil.  

Sauce: Hoisin, Sriracha, and water.  

Heat 4 tbsp. of oil in a large saute pan. Saute the garlic until lightly browned.  

Add the seasoned ground meat and cook until just browned through. Taste and season with an additional 3/4 tsp. of kosher salt, if needed. 

Spoon the meat onto lettuce leaves, sprinkle with garnishes (chopped cilantro, scallions, and red chiles), and drizzle with a bit of the spicy Hoisin sauce. Wrap and eat. 

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