Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cooking Together: Sesame Pork Lettuce Wraps

Awesome Stepkid R loves lettuce wraps. I usually make them several times a month when he's around, and if I forget, he's quick to remind me that he's missing them.

I like requests. Dinnertime is so much more stress-free and enjoyable when you're cooking for an appreciative audience. And a hungry 16 year old boy is definitely an appreciative audience. He's growing so fast that my old [much hated] Elementary School Nickname of "Flamingo Legs" isn't too far from becoming his truth. Poor dude.

I usually use chicken for lettuce wraps but pork tenderloin was on sale this week, so we gave it a spin.

Sesame Pork Lettuce Wraps
serves 3-4

1 pound pork tenderloin
1/4 cup thinly sliced shallot
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon chopped bottled ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Sriracha or other hot asian pepper sauce
1/2 tablespoon Mirin, japanese wine
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil (preferably toasted, if you can find it)

Hot cooked short grain rice
Butter or red leaf lettuce (allow about 4 leaves per person... WAY more if you have hungry teen [aka: Garbage Disposal] in house)
Bean Sprouts
Mint Leaves
Chopped roasted peanuts or sesame seeds
Lime wedges

Freeze the pork tenderloin until somewhat frozen. It took ours about an hour. Combine next 9 ingredients; add to a large ziploc bag. Remove pork from freezer; slice crosswise very thinly (slices should be about 1/4 inch thick). Seal and marinate pork at least 2 hours. I let mine sit in that salt bath about 5 hours. It's forgiving that way.

Now a purist would probably grill these pork slices. That's the traditional way. Just throw them on a medium high grill for 1-2 minutes a side. However, it looked like rain outside, and I actually like the way the sauce coats and caramelizes the pork if you cook the pork directly in the marinade, so this is what I did. Heat a heavy skillet or wok, brush with a bit of oil, throw the pork and the marinade in the pan and saute quickly until the pork is just cooked and the sauce coats the slices.

In each lettuce leaf, pile a few strips of pork, rice, bean sprouts, mint and nuts/seeds. Give it a healthy squirt of lime juice, roll up and eat!

**In our house, we also add an extra squirt of Sriracha and some thinly sliced jalapenos. You can also substitute shredded carrot for the bean sprouts, or add them anyways, like we do, because more veg is always good.

We liked the pork in the wraps--in fact, my husband couldn't stop eating the meat. Next time, I'll double the recipe because we could have tucked into another entire order of that meat.
You know, because we can be pigs...eating pig...wait, that ain't right, is it?


  1. Oh these sound terrific! I think we'd have to double the recipe too as Mr. can put away as much as 2 people when pork is involved (and leftovers are always welcome!). Love the styling in your photo too!

  2. This looks awesome! I looooove pork tenderloin, and I know my husband always likes new ways to enjoy some delicious pig. :-)

  3. Lettuce wraps are a pretty darn healthy thing for a 16-year old to like. My six-year old sticks to requesting Top Ramen, which is an easy wish to fulfill but sort of guilt-inducing for the parent who says "yes" five times a week (me).

    And I know what you mean about that "I-should-be-BBQing" feeling when it's just so much easier to stay inside sometimes. It's pouring in Seattle right now. Back to reality.

  4. Sounds yummy. I'm totally going to have to give it a try.

  5. Phoo-D, you always try to say something encouraging about my shitty photos, which makes me smile. Big heart there, kid.

    Elizabeth and fae--do try--they are pretty easy and healthy, unless you have a problem with salt...I want to be buried in it, personally.

    Leftoverist: I am, indeed, happy with the lettuce wraps...but his lunch of 12 boneless buffalo hot wings today...ewwww. But hey, as a teen, I vacillated wildly between starving myself and eating huge amounts of chips and I'll take the junk-food boy any day.

    And there's a LOT of growth between 6 and 6, awesome stepkid R ate only spaghetti-o's and southwestern egg rolls from Chili's. It's gotta get better, you know?

  6. I'm a big fan of wokking stuff in the marinade. Of course, the lack of meat limits us, but the same principle applies. Yum to carmelization and extra salt.

  7. This looks yummy. I like pork and I am not ashamed of it.

  8. Methinks you should open a restaurant so we can all come eat there.

  9. My mouth is watering just reading this - I definitely want to give this a go - will add it to my list of recipes I must try - though all those ingredients will take a bit of hunting round the supermarket me thinks! Oh gosh it is almost lunch time and I wish i could eat the computer much for a healthy week of restraint! :)

    Sorry to hear about your mum not being well also - hope she is on the mend? xxx

  10. Looks great! I tried those lemon squares you posted the other day. They've been officially requested again for the Christmas goodie tray! Thanks for passing that recipe on!

  11. That sounds so much better than the TownHouse crackers I was planning on having for dinner.

  12. I love lettuce wraps. These sound deelish!

  13. hmmmm, those look absolutely delish! *writing the recipe down*

  14. Loove lettuce wraps and have never had a recipe (and never tried to figure one out on my own). So thanks from this lazy lettuce-wrap lover. My family thanks you, too.

  15. Definitely going to give these a try! Your recipes are quickly turning into an easy meal planner for me. Keep them coming! Yum!

  16. I love lettuce wraps! I may have to use some of my leftover meat to make them for my lunches this weeks - thanks!