These are the BEST lettuce wraps I’ve ever eaten. A really nice woman named Faye brought these to a potluck we attended a while back, and she was kind enough to share the recipe with me. I added tofu to the mix to make it a bit more filling, but otherwise kept it pretty much the same.
The flavors mix so well together, but you’re still able to taste each individual flavor. Chopped limes…with the peel! Toasted coconut…chopped jalapeno…
Oh, the jalapeno. I have been chopping chiles for as long as I’ve known how to cook, and I’ve never had any problems with them. I think the jalapenos I used in this dish were radioactive. I must have touched my face after chopping them, and they must have been super-hot, because a few minutes later I was in agonizing pain, swollen and irritated from my nose to my chin. It felt like fire, like acid, like death. I tried everything…and must have looked so silly in the process…I rubbed alcohol over it, I washed my face with soap, I smeared ice cream and yogurt over it, and finally resorted to holding a washcloth filled with ice cubes over my face for an hour. A whole hour I sat there with tears streaming down my face. Needless to say, the jalapenos did NOT go in my lettuce wraps.
Anyway, I highly recommend this recipe. It’s not hard to make, though it does require a few specialty ingredients. It’s so worth it. Sorry the photo isn’t wonderful…we ate outside on the patio that night, and this was the best shot I could get.
- 1/2 cup toasted coconut (stir in a dry skillet over medium heat until it just starts to brown)
- 3 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons sliced green onions
- 1 tablespoon Asian black bean sauce
- 3/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup tamarind liquid
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 12 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained, diced, and cooked in a bit of olive oil until just browned
- 1/2 cup toasted coconut
- 1/2 cup minced peeled fresh ginger
- 1/2 cup finely diced limes, including peel
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh chiles (jalapenos or serranos)
- 1/2 cup chopped dry-roasted peanuts
- 1/2 cup salted sunflower seeds
- 1 head of green leaf lettuce, separated into individual leaves
For sauce: In a food processor or blender combine coconut, ginger, green onions, and black bean sauce, and process to a fairly smooth paste. (You may need to add some of the vegetable broth if the mixture is too thick.) In a saucepan, combine the coconut-ginger paste, vegetable broth, sugar, tamarind liquid, and soy sauce. Stir well and bring to a rolling boil over medium heat; boil for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until the sauce is dark brown, and thickened to a medium syrup. Cool sauce to room temperature.
Arrange all the filling ingredients in separate bowls. To serve, top each lettuce leaf with a bit of each of the filling ingredients, drizzle with the sauce, and roll up.
Makes 4 servings. Or two if you’re feeding my husband.
Source: Faye Johnston.