Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Thai Lettuce Wraps Vegetarian Version

This Thai recipe for lettuce wraps is quick and easy to make. It's also a fun dish to eat, either as an appetizer or as part of a main course. Serve the filling on a platter with whole ice burgs lettuce leaves on the side, and let your friends and family wrap their own. They'll love the combination of crisp, cold lettuce with the warm, flavorful filling. And it's a low-calorie, low-fat treat that's also very nutritious, whether made vegetarian, or with meat or seafood.

Thai Lettuce Wraps Vegetarian VersionINGREDIENTS FOR VEGAN VERSION:

- 1 head fresh ice burg lettuce (this type works best for this recipe)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 thumb-size piece galangal (or ginger), grated
- 1 red chilly, de-seeded and finely sliced (omit altogether if you prefer very mild wraps)
- 2 shallots, sliced finely
- 1/2 cup firm tofu, cut into "matchsticks"; (OR 1/2 cup cooked chicken or pork, shredded, OR 1/2 cup cooked baby shrimp)
- 1 carrot, grated or cut into thin strips
- 4-5 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1 egg (optional if vegan)
- 1/2 cup shredded cabbage (red is very good, but any type will work)
- 3 spring onions, sliced lengthwise into matchstick-like pieces
- approx. 2 cups bean sprouts
- 2 Tbsp. lime juice
- 2 Tbsp. regular soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp. fish sauce (if vegetarian, use vegetarian oyster sauce)
- 1 Tbsp. oyster sauce (if vegetarian, use vegetarian oyster sauce)
- 1 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped if leaves are large
- 1/2 cup roasted peanut, roughly chopped
- 2 Tbsp. oil for stir-frying


1. Place oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, galangal (or ginger), chilly, and shallots. Stir-fry one minute, or until fragrant. Stir-frying tip: add Tbsp. water whenever the wok/pan gets too dry instead of more oil.
2. Add tofu (or meat/shrimp), carrot, shiitake mushrooms, cabbage, and spring onions. As you stir-fry, add the lime juice, soy sauce, fish sauce, and oyster sauce. Stir-fry about 1 minute.
3. Push ingredients to the side of the wok or pan, and crack in the egg. Stir-fry the egg quickly, breaking the yolk. Mix in with the other ingredients.
4. Add the bean sprouts and stir-fry briefly (to mix). Remove from heat and do a taste test for salt, adding 1 Tbsp more fish sauce if not salty enough.
5. Cut off the stem part of the ice burg lettuce so it's easier to separate the leaves. Now place the lettuce, the sir-fried filling, and the toppings on your table, allowing family or guests to make their own wraps.
6. To assemble wraps, take a whole lettuce leaf and place 1-2 heaping tablespoons of filling in the center. Top with a sprinkling of fresh basil and peanuts. Then wrap it up and eat. (For those who like it extra spicy, Thai chilly sauce can be added as another topping.)

Enjoy your cooking for Thai Lettuce Wraps is Vegetarian Version.

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