Friday, August 19, 2016

Thai Lettuce Wraps

If you're a regular reader of Minxeats, you've probably noticed that I tend to cook with and promote various specialty food products in the warmer months. That's because I've recently been to the Summer Fancy Food show and either picked up some samples to play with at the show, or were sent products to try. One of my favorite products from the show this year was Runamok Maple Syrup, which comes in 10 varieties (including smoked, rum-barrel-aged, cardamom-infused, etc.) and is really quite delicious stuff. I'm not a big pancake/waffle eater, so I've been trying out recipes that use the syrups in a more creative way.

The Makrut Lime Leaf-infused syrup really speaks to my creative nature. If you're familiar with Thai food, you're probably familiar with makrut lime leaf (also called "kaffir" lime); its aromatic citrussy flavor is a staple in that cuisine. My thoughts naturally turned to using this syrup in Asian-inspired dishes, like this one for pork lettuce wraps. It's kinda Thai, inspired by the spicy meat salads known as larb. It comes together quickly, and apart from the maple syrup and Thai basil, uses ingredients found in most grocery stores.

Of course, you can still make the dish without either the syrup or the basil. Just substitute regular maple syrup for the Runamok and add the finely grated rind of 1 lime. There's no substitute for Thai basil, IMHO, so just don't worry about that part.

Thai Pork Lettuce Wraps

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
6 scallions, chopped (divided use)
1 lb ground pork
1/2 bell pepper, diced
Handful of green beans, chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons Runamok Maple Makrut Lime Leaf Maple Syrup
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon lemongrass paste (I like Gourmet Garden, found in produce sections of most major supermarkets)
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped Thai basil
2 teaspoons sriracha, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 head Boston or butter lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried thoroughly
Lime wedges for garnish

Heat the oil in a large saute pan and add 4 of the scallions. Cook over medium high heat, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add the ground pork, breaking it up with a wooden spoon or spatula and stirring regularly. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until the pork is starting to brown and is mostly broken into small pieces. Add the bell pepper and green beans and cook for about 4-5 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup, fish sauce, lemongrass paste, garlic, herbs, cilantro, and ginger. Pour over the pork and vegetables in the pan and mix well. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cover the pan. Cook for 10-12 minutes, until the pork absorbs most of the sauce.

Taste for seasoning. Add salt, if needed (you could also add more fish sauce).

Put the lettuce leaves in a bowl. Put the cooked pork in another bowl. To eat, put spoonfuls of pork mixture into lettuce. Squeeze over a bit of lime, and more sriracha, if desired.

* Any products in this post that are mentioned by name may have been provided to Minxeats by the manufacturer. However, all opinions belong to Minxeats. Amazon links earn me $! Please buy!

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