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Appetizers, Healthy Eating

Beef lettuce wraps

Beef lettuce wraps
Los Angeles Times

Lettuce cups at a Chinese restaurant seem like a cliche -- a dish that easily falls under suspicion as one of those faux Chinese dishes made up for Western palates. In truth, it's a bona fide traditional dish, made popular ... Read more

Total time: 25 minutes | Serves 4 as an appetizer
  • 10 ounces lean (20% fat) ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup diced water chestnuts (strained of all water)
  • 1/4 cup sweet Thai chile sauce, such as Mae Ploy brand
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons kechap manis (Indonesian soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped mint
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons sliced green onions
  • 1 large head bibb lettuce, cleaned and leaves separated

Step 1Saute the ground beef until thoroughly cooked, about 5 minutes. Using a fine mesh strainer, drain the beef of all juices and oils.

Step 2Place a medium saute pan over high heat. Add the grapeseed oil. Saute the water chestnuts until crisp, 2 minutes. Add the beef, sweet chile sauce, soy sauce and kechap manis. Mix until the sauces are incorporated. Cook about 1 minute. Add the mint and cilantro, mixing well.

Step 3Transfer the mixture to a 4-ounce bowl and garnish with the green onions. Place the bowl onto a larger plate (the restaurant uses an 8-inch-square one). Surround the bowl with the lettuce leaves. Serve with a spoon for scooping the filling into the leaves.

Note: From chef Andrew deGroot of Yu Restaurant & Lounge in Santa Monica.

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