Thursday, September 1, 2011

Lettuce Wraps

Ever since I had lettuce wraps at a family dinner in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago, I've been wanting to make them at home.

I finally got around to making them!


The best thing about making this at home is that you can put whatever you like in it--combining a lot of different ingredients or keeping it simple with just a few.

Top it with a little bit of Sriracha hot sauce to make one tasty lettuce wrap!



These Lettuce Wraps have shrimp, chicken and sausage, along with leeks, water chestnuts, onions, three kinds of mushrooms and shiso leaves on a bed of fried mai fun noodles--wrapped in a butter or romaine lettuce leaf.



I like to use hoisin sauce on lettuce wraps, but couldn't find any after searching and searching through my refrigerator and pantry (I was sure I had some somewhere!), so I put some plum sauce on it.

Try it with your favorite sauce.



This recipe will easily serve 8.

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked salad shrimp
2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 lb. Italian sausage
shiitake, oyster and white mushrooms, about 4 cups diced
1 leek, thinly sliced and washed well
1 can water chestnuts, diced 
1 cup diced onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger

butter or red leaf lettuce leaves--or both
hoisin sauce or plum sauce
sriracha hot sauce

maifun noodles
oil for frying

optional: shiso leaves

The first thing you do is fry the noodles. 



These are Maifun noodles.

Break them apart in a large bowl to keep them from making a mess.

You can use kitchen shears to cut them into manageable pieces.



Heat a large skillet or wok with oil and heat to about 350ºF.

When the oil is hot, test it by putting in one strand of noodle and if it quickly puffs up, the oil is ready.

Carefully drop in a few noodle threads at a time into the hot oil.

If you do too many at once, there's a chance all the noodles won't cook well and you might have some uncooked hard pieces.

Those are horrible to bite into, so fry them a little at a time.



They will quickly puff up and look like this.

Remove with chopsticks or tongs and drain on paper towels.



I don't know what possessed me to make the whole package of maifun noodles!

It looks like a lot, but they crunch down a lot.

They will keep in a ziplock bag for a week or two--you can use the extras to make Chinese Chicken Salad.

Put the noodles in a bowl and set aside.



Wash the leeks well, taking apart the layers--there's always dirt between the layers of leeks--then slice thinly.



Dice the water chestnuts and the mushrooms.

I served this today to someone that doesn't like mushrooms and they didn't even notice them--said it was delicious!

Maybe it was because they were chopped small.

The mushrooms really lighten this filling up--so you don't feel like you're eating something heavy--and the water chestnuts give it a nice crunch.



1 tablespoon each of minced garlic and ginger give it a nice zing.



After you've got everything chopped, brown the sausage.



Then add the vegetables and saute until the vegetables are wilted.



Then add the cooked shrimp and the diced chicken to the pot.



Mix until the chicken & shrimp are heated through and add salt and pepper to taste.



I usually have hoisin sauce--it's like a Chinese barbecue sauce--in my refrigerator or pantry, but today I didn't and used this sweet/savory plum sauce.

It was pretty good, and the addition of some sriracha hot sauce on top made them tasty.

But that's getting a little ahead of myself.



My mom gave me several stalks of shiso plants she had growing in her backyard when I was there this afternoon, so I added them to the recipe.

Shiso is one of my favorite herbs.



You can stack the leaves, roll them up, and slice them--chiffonade them-- and add them to the top of the lettuce wraps, or simply put the whole leaf in the wrap.



Butter lettuce is good for lettuce wraps, the leaves are small and wide.

I might like red leaf lettuce leaves better, though, they're bigger and you can roll the filling up inside the leaf.

With the butter lettuce, they're smaller so you end up eating the wraps sort of like a taco.



Start out with a little hoisin sauce or plum sauce on the lettuce leaf.



Then add some of the noodles.



Then some of the meat and vegetable mixture.



And some shiso.




Drizzle a little more hoisin sauce on top and also a little sriracha hot sauce.


For those of you that may be wondering, I found the dog ceramic spoon at Marukai market when it was the Year of the Dog, and the wiener dog ohashi holder at Rafu Bussan on 2nd Street in LA's Little Tokyo.



How about a closer look?


Itadakimasu!




***



A couple of weeks ago we went to Las Vegas.

It was my son Rick's birthday.

We had dinner with some of my husband's cousins on their annual Vegas trip, too.

And...

We were celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary!


My dear husband, on recommendation from our daughter Karen (who said, "Dad! You gotta take Mom to see Garth in Vegas--she'll LOVE it!"), surprised me back in April for our anniversary, but we couldn't get tickets until August.



The first thing I did when we got to the Wynn hotel was take a photo of the poster.

The day was finally here!



As we were entering the theater, my husband wondered if he would enjoy the show.

When Garth did the benefit shows in LA a few years ago after the big wildfires here, our whole family went together to the concert, so Gary had already seen him.

For Gary, once is enough, and he wondered if he was going to be able to stay awake since we had tickets to the 10:30 PM show.


If you are a Garth Brooks fan, I think you will love this show.

It's a one-man show, with Garth and his guitar, playing music that influenced him while growing up--old country tunes, singer-songwriter, rock, pop, soul--across all genres.

You get a glimpse into his life and personality as he talks about his parents and family--which I really enjoyed.

He's a great storyteller.

If you're not a Garth Brooks fan and are looking for a Vegas show to see, I'd recommend this one--it's very entertaining!

I looked over at Gary several times during the show--he was awake!--and he had a big smile on his face and laughed out loud many times--especially when Garth talked about cars.

Gary likes cars.

(A little side note: you'll want to know what P.O.S. means in regards to cars...)

The only thing that could have made the show better is if his wife Trisha Yearwood would have come on-stage to sing with Garth.

I was a Trisha Yearwood fan before I was a Garth Brooks fan.


Karen had seen the show for her 1st wedding anniversary earlier this year and gave me instructions to count how many times I teared up during the concert and report back to her when it was over.

I found myself tearin' up several times, in a lot of the same places that Karen did when she saw the show.

Some of the songs make me think of when the kids were little and we'd play Garth Brooks's music when our family would make the long drive to Mammoth Lakes--the kids were about 8 and 6 years old, and the four of us would sit together in the crew cab of our truck and sing Garth Brooks songs.

Such nice The Song Remembers When moments for our family.


Thank you Karen, for urging Dad to take me to see the show, we had such a good time!




***





This recipe easily serves 8.

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked salad shrimp
2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 lb. Italian sausage
shiitake, oyster and white mushrooms, about 4 cups diced
1 leek, thinly sliced and washed well
1 can water chestnuts, diced 
1 cup diced onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger

butter or red leaf lettuce leaves--or both
hoisin sauce or plum sauce
sriracha hot sauce

maifun noodles
oil for frying

optional: shiso leaves


The first thing you do is fry the noodles. Heat skillet or wok with oil to about 350F.When the oil is hot, test it by putting in one strand of noodle and if it quickly puffs up, the oil is ready. Carefully drop on a few noodle threads at a time into the hot oil. Remove the cooked, puffed noodles from the pan and drain on paper towels. Set aside.

If you do too many at once, there's a chance all the noodles won't cook well and you might have some uncooked hard pieces. Those are horrible to bite into, so fry them a little at a time.

Wash lettuce leaves and put them in the refrigerator to crisp.

Brown sausage, drain any fat at the bottom of the pan, then add the vegetables, garlic and ginger. Saute until vegetables are wilted, then add the cooked shrimp and chicken. Cook until heated through, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Assemble the lettuce wraps by placing about a 1/2 teaspoon of hoisin or plum sauce on the bottom of the lettuce leaf, then adding some fried maifun noodles, a spoonful of the meat-vegetable filling mixture, some shiso leaves and a drizzle of sriracha hot sauce or a little more hoisin sauce.



7 comments:

  1. lol! I like the mountain of maifun. It's always amazing when it's thrown in the wok and in seconds the whole wok is filled with a fluff of white. I love lettuce wraps, refreshing and tasty.

    I'm happy you and Gary had a good time in Vegas - it's good to get away from the doldrums. I know Garth is one of your favorites. You were so excited about the concert the last time I saw you! :)

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  2. I just love your blog. This is so sweet. I will get my husband to try this recipe and report back to you. thanks. Coleene.

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  3. I love lettuce wrap. This looks incredible and gorgeous pictures, as always!

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  4. Those lettuce wraps look soooo good!! The crispy noodles add so much texture to the dish. I have to add that to ours next time.

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