If you’ve dined at a modern Asian restaurant recently, especially P.F. Chang’s, chances are good you’ve eaten lettuce cups. Indeed, they’ve created quite a reputation for themselves. From vegans to carnivores, there’s a lettuce cup recipe to suit everyone’s taste.
For me, lettuce cups are best when they have noodles and pork, so today I’m sharing my recipe for Asian pork lettuce cups which are easy to make but require a few steps. Once you’ve made them a couple of times, you’ll get faster and faster, and more comfortable with making your own ingredient substitutions. Don’t like mung bean sprouts? Try alfalfa or buckwheat sprouts. Love soba noodles? Use them in place of rice noodles. Can’t find a ripe mango? Try a ripe papaya or pineapple. After all, how can you not have fun with food served in an edible cup?
Asian Pork Lettuce Cups
Makes 8 to 10 lettuce cups
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 pound ground pork*
3 green onions, thinly sliced, green and white parts
2 stalks of celery, finely diced
1 serrano chile, minced
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
The juice 1 small lime
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
5 to 6 ounces of rice noodles, or noodles of your choice, cooked according to directions
1 head Boston or iceberg lettuce
1 large or 2 small ripe mangoes, diced
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup shredded carrots
1 small bunch fresh cilantro
1 small bunch fresh mint
1. In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, warm sesame oil. Add pork and cook 5 minutes, without touching. Add green onions, celery, and chile, and stir. Cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until the pork is no longer pink.
2. In a small bowl whisk soy sauce, water, lime juice, brown sugar, and cornstarch. Add to the pan, and cook 2 minutes or until it begins to bubble and thicken. Add the noodles and swiftly toss until well coated. Place in a large bowl or platter. To make a lettuce cup, scoop some of the pork-noodle mixture into a piece of lettuce, top with mango, bean sprouts, carrots, and herbs.
Cook’s Note: Using regular ground pork as opposed to low-fat or 99% fat-free will make the dish moister and tastier.