As I’ve mentioned, one of my favorite cuisines is Asian food. I think a lot of people tend to fear cooking it and order take-out instead because many Asian recipes call for a couple weird ingredients and that can create the illusion of a complicated recipe. Exhibit A: fish sauce.
The first time we made an an Asian recipe, it called for fish sauce. I told Luke I wasn’t sure I could handle adding fish sauce to our recipe. (At that point in time, I didn’t eat any fish so the thought of liquified fish disgusted me!).
What we found, was that adding a small amount of fish sauce really helped create some of the flavor of the dish and it simply would not be as good without it. We also thought we might have to go to some Asian market to find this obscure concoction, but low and behold they sell it in the Asian section of every grocery store!
In fact, almost any ingredient you will need to make an Asian recipe can be found at your local grocery store. Once you get over the fear of using a couple strange ingredients and keep them stocked in your kitchen, you’ll probably end up experimenting and making Asian dishes all the time like we do!
One of my all time favorite Asian dishes to make is lettuce wraps. It was also one of the first dishes that Luke and I made that impressed my parents :). They are so simple to make – and so much healthier to make at home. One might think lettuce wraps are a healthy thing to order when you go out to eat, but they can contain over 1000 calories at a restaurant. So give these a try – I bet you’ll want seconds!
We served ours with Korean Red Cabbage
Asian Lettuce Wraps
Adapted from Pink Parsley
- 1 lb ground chicken or ground turkey
- 1 head of bibb lettuce (feel free to use other kinds as well)
- 1 bunch of scallions (3 or 4), chopped
- 1 thai or jalapeño chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 3 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tsp grated lime zest (optional)
- 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 2 tsp canola oil
- cooked quinoa or brown rice (optional)
1) Combine fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, and cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside.
2) Wash and dry your lettuce leaves and set aside.
3) Heat canola oil on skillet over medium heat and add ground turkey or chicken, lime zest, and chile. Cook for 5 minutes, or until no longer pink. Continually mash the meat with a wooden spoon as it is cooking to break it apart.
4) Stir the sauce again to combine and add to meat. Cook, while stirring, until the sauce has thickened, 1-2 minutes.
5) Remove pan from heat and add chopped scallions.
6) Serve inside lettuce leaves with cooked quinoa or brown rice, or alone.