Friday, July 15, 2011

Recipe: Hoisin Turkey Lettuce Wraps

We had something like this at a restaurant in Halifax once and had to figure out how to make it when the restaurant changed hands and menus.  This scenario accounts for much of what comes out of our kitchen, especially when we've moved and lost a favourite meal.  It becomes a challenge to recreate those favourites.  

When the days get super hot, my favourite things to eat are usually cool and crunchy.  This dish satisfies the craving for something meaty (a prerequisite for husband), while still having all the different textures and cool tastes that a salad has.  
The added bonus is that you eat it with your hands and everyone can make their own as they like it, making it perfect for pot lucks.  This kind of dish lends itself to variations galore, depending on what you have in your kitchen and you can use any kind of ground meat or crumbled tofu for the filling.  At Loblaws, I found a Thai Basil plant for the deck and the herbs' flavour is perfect for this dish.  Makes great leftovers as well!

Garnished with Thai Basil

Hoisin Turkey Lettuce Wraps

1 pound ground turkey
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 each red and green pepper, diced
1 small tin of water chestnuts, drained and diced*
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1 tbsp chili garlic sauce like Sambal Oelek

1 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup shredded cabbage
1/4 pkg rice vermicelli noodles, softened
1/2 cup cucumber, slivered
bib, boston or romaine lettuce, washed and dried.
handful of mint and cilantro

 Saute onion in oil over medium heat until translucent.  Add garlic, stir a minute.  Add ground turkey and stir until cooked through.  Add peppers and water chestnut.  Add hoisin and chili garlic sauce.  If mixture seems dry, add more hoisin.  When peppers are cooked and mixture is hot and bubbly remove from heat and serve in a heatproof bowl with vegetables and noodles all in separate dishes with lettuce leaves separated.  Layer shredded vegetables, noodles and herbs in a lettuce leaf, top with pork and enjoy.  Great food for a hot night.

* If you don't have water chestnuts, celery or even chopped peanuts would give some crunch to the turkey mixture.  You can decrease the chili garlic sauce to one teaspoon if you like things less spicy.e