Foodie Friday: Fresh Lettuce Wrap and Spring Roll

First Friday of the month: Recipes / Cooking

My recipe for today was inspired by a well-loved specialty Chinese dish -- minced Peking duck in lettuce roll.  I obviously don't have access to roast duck on an ordinary day, and from time to time, I crave for something fresh and filling like this, different from our usual weeknight dinners.

What's great about this recipe is that the ingredients are readily available in your local groceries and, as I always harp on my posts, very simple and easy to prepare. The secret to this dish is the hoisin sauce, which brings in the flavor.  Plus, you can use the meat filling in many ways!  Here I'll show you 2 ways of serving this dish:


1 head iceberg lettuce, wash and strain
Sheets of spring roll wrapper
Lettuce leaves, whole and loose cuts
sprigs of fresh cilantro (wansoy)
toasted seaweed (optional)
Hoisin sauce

Meat filling:
250g lean ground pork / or chicken
1 fist-sized turnip (singkamas)
4 large heads of fresh shiitake mushrooms (if dried, soak mushrooms in warm water before use)
1/2 medium carrot
1 small white onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoon hoisin sauce
I didn't have mushrooms when I cooked this batch  =)
To prepare:
Press and drain ground meat of any liquid.
Finely chop all vegetables, mushrooms, and set aside.  For the turnip, you can buy a fist-sized piece or smaller.
(Again, I only approximate the amount of veggies here, you can have more, or less of each.)

To cook:
In a pan, saute garlic, onions and ground meat until half cooked, about 3 minutes under medium heat.
Stir in the rest of the veggies and mushrooms, season pepper, oyster sauce, then add hoisin sauce -- a sweet and thick Chinese dipping sauce made from ground soybeans, sweet potato, and spices. Mix well.
Cover pan and allow to cook for another 5 - 8 minutes. Lower heat. Make sure veggies will not turn soggy.
Remove from heat then transfer cooked filling to a strainer and allow liquid to drain.  
Place in a serving bowl.

8.5 Oz Hoisin Sauce Lee Kum Kee
Lee Kum Kee Hoisin Sauce, and toasted seaweeds for spring rolls

To assemble:
Arrange and serve the lettuce leaves, spring roll wrapper, cilantro, sauce and meat filling on the table, buffet style.

Choose your wrapper -- lettuce or spring roll, or both!
Assemble and layer on your plates.

Spread hoisin sauce on chosen wrapper, scoop meat filling.
Fold, roll, and bite. Crisp, juicy, mouthwatering!

Ready for a bite!

Warning:  You can loose count once you start eating, and before you know it, you might have eaten half of the entire batch already! This dish is best shared. ;)
Serves 3 to 4.

In case you have extra meat filling, wrap in spring roll wrapper and keep in air-tight container.  It's ready to be fried for the next meal!

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