Tag Archives: Asian

Pork Lettuce Wraps

4 Jan
pork lettuce wrap filling

pork lettuce wrap filling

Tonight’s dinner was pork lettuce wraps. In trying to stick with the new year’s tradition of eating better and then progressively eating worse as the year goes on, I decided to make this recipe. It’s a relatively simple thing, fill a large leaf of lettuce with meat and veggies and viola, dinner.

Although very popular in American-Asian cooking, lettuce wraps aren’t really traditional. Made popular by restaurants like P.F. Chang’s, these little beauties are light and tasty.

Begin by sauteing sliced mushrooms in olive oil. When they are brown, remove them from the pan. Toss thinly sliced pork tenderloin with 1/2 cup flour, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, and salt and pepper to taste. Sear the pieces of pork and then add in 1 cup snap peas, julienned and 1 cup carrots sliced thinly. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar and 1/4 cup soy sauce. If you need more liquid add in chicken stock until the sauce reaches the desired thickness.

Serve in lettuce bowls. Here’s where the debate begins. I’ve had lettuce wraps with bibb lettuce, romaine lettuce and iceburg lettuce. What you’re looking for is a good cup to hold the filling. You want something that is crunchy and that won’t crack too much when you take a bite. The bibb lettuce is the best choice, but it can be expensive. Iceburg is also a great choice. It’s cheap and crunchy. Tonight I opted for romaine. Even though the shape is a little awkward, the leftover lettuce can easily be transformed into Caesar salads for lunch tomorrow.

I garnished the wraps with plum sauce and peanut sauce. The peanut sauce was not really needed. The pork and veg had plenty of flavor and the peanut flavor was a bit overwhelming.

Give this a try when you want something new to keep your resolutions in check.

Always thinking of the next meal


Filipino Cooking Class

12 Nov



Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce

Last night I was asked to to teach a class on traditional Filipino cooking. This was a very exciting venture for me, as I had never really cooked Filipino food before. I dabbled in Asian cookery while in school, but there’s nothing like being asked to teach a subject to get you interested and immersed in research.


I found out that I already had the foundation of what Filipino cooking is all about. The Philippines are islands that have a patchwork history. With influences from Thailand, Spain, Japan, India, and a whole host of others, traditional Filipino food has elements from all of these cultures. The food follows the balanced of Thai food, being sweet, sour, hot and salty. Although most Filipino dishes tend to be far less spicy than Thai dishes. You also see more rice noodles and less rice, than Japanese and Spanish dishes, but it is certainly still important.

For the class, I did, Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce, Pansit, and Chicken Adobo. Spring rolls are more traditional in Thai cooking, but I wanted to teach the technique of rolling. My client had asked for me to teach her how to make lumpia, but I couldn’t find the specific wrappers and there wasn’t enough time to make the dough for homemade wrappers.

We started with the Spring rolls. I came with some of the vegetables julienned already (to save time) and we cut some of the cucumbers and herbs together. I rolled the first few to show my client how to do it, and then she took over. Although, a little nervous at first, she got the hang of it pretty quickly. I think that the most difficult part of cooking, is getting over the fear that you’re going to mess something up. We also mixed up some super simple peanut sauce. Here’s the recipe:

Peanut sauce:

1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 cup warm water

wisk all the ingredients together and serve at room temperature

After snaking on the spring rolls, we moved on the pansit. Basically, pansit is the Filipino version of fried rice or lo


Pancit with fried tofu

mein. Choose vegetables that you like and juilenne them. Because my client is a vegetarian I loaded the veggies up. I used red and green bell peppers, onions, cabbage, carrots, and scallions. She eats eggs, so I hard boiled some eggs to throw in too. We stir fried the vegetables and then added in the soften rice noodles. Tossed to combine and then added in about 1/2 cup of soy sauce. Stir and fry and plate. Garnish with the chopped scallions. We topped our version with fried tofu to add some protein to the dish.

To fry the tofu, use firm tofu pat dry. Dredge the tofu pieces in cornstarch and in very hot oil, cook the pieces until they turn light brown. They won’t be super dark brown, but they will have a light crust around the edges. You can certainly make this dish with shrimp or chicken, just follow the same frying method with the cornstarch.

The last dish we made was chicken adobo. This was one that we made specifically for her husband, who misses his mother’s version. I knew that I had no chance of reaching that level of expectation, since I had never hear of this dish let alone made it before. But I gave it a try and was thrilled with the result. You know you’ve done something right, when the client’s husband walks in the door and says it smells like home.



Chicken Adobo with sweet rice

The adobo chicken is basically a version of coq au vin or any other braised chicken dish. You start by searing the chicken and then building the base of flavor in the same pan. This dish uses garlic, lemon, rice vinegar and soy sauce as the main flavors. Again, emphasizing the sweet, salty, and sour. I wanted to serve it over rice, but not boring rice. The original recipe I found called for added Sprite to the chicken while it was braising. So I decided to make the rice with the soda and some lemon zest instead of just plain water. The experiment was a huge success. The rice was very citrusy and slightly sweet. Since the chicken was lemony and tangy, the sweet rice added just enough balance to perfect the dish. Again we garnished with chopped scallions.


The class was great. We talked about ideas for the next class before I left and I can’t wait to do it again!

Always thinking of the next meal (and class,)