I never make lettuce wraps because my beau seems to think it’s not hearty enough. But every once in a while, I crave a DIY meal that’s not tacos so I promised him there would be hefty side dishes on the menu as well and he acquiesced.
At the core of this recipe is a group of spices and sauces typically found in Asian cooking. Once you’ve made a dish, you’ll likely have enough of the proper ingredients stocked to make this one. It’s not prescriptive – use what you’ve got on hand. For me, that meant I mixed up a sauce of gochujang, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and brown sugar. (If you don’t have any/all of those, look in your fridge or pantry for rice wine vinegar, sriracha, hoisin sauce, honey…you get the idea.) I started by sautéing a chopped onion in olive oil. Once it softened, I added a pound of ground pork and continued stirring over medium heat. When the pork was about halfway done, I added in once large clove of minced garlic, chopped scallions, some ground ginger, and a chopped red bell pepper. Once all that was cooked up, I added the sauce and let it simmer for another minute or two. I pulled the whole thing together by piling into iceberg lettuce leaves (bibb would be great too) and topping with chopped cucumber for a cool crunch along with scallion tops and sesame seeds because it looks pretty.
At the end of the day, Albert didn’t eat this as lettuce wraps. (I did, and I can confirm it’s a great way to go.) He did eat it as a rice bowl with some roasted cauliflower and seemed very pleased with that meal. Pleased enough, in fact, that when I went to make a rice bowl with the leftovers for lunch the next day, I needed to go vegetarian because the pork was all gone. That’s the beauty of a DIY meal like this – there’s a way for everyone to enjoy.