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Lettuce Cups with Pork in Peanut Sauce

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This easy dish of Lettuce Cups with Pork in Peanut Sauce was a result of my staring inside the refrigerator for a good ten minutes, trying to decide what to cook for dinner.

I had all these ingredients in my ref, I just needed to put them together, quickly for our weeknight meal. I started by making the nutty peanut sauce. The creamy peanut butter with the seasonings was salty and sweet all at once. I couldn’t wait to dip the first thing I had on the counter with it. I set it aside first for serving later.

The ground pork cooked fast as soon as I started the stir fry. Once the aromatics of garlic, onions, and ginger sizzled, and the meat turned a darker hue, I poured the oyster sauce and the savory aromas floated around. Most Filipinos use oyster sauce as a condiment for many stir-fry dishes. The overall salty dimension the sauce adds to the flavor of the entrée, combines well with the crisp, fresh lettuce leaves which encase the pork.

We have often ordered this dish from Asian and Chinese take-out or restaurants. But since the pandemic started, we haven’t gone out or ordered out much. So, when I made this marvelously easy dish in my kitchen, I realized  this home-cooked, luscious meal was going to be a regular on my rotation menu from now on.

Lettuce Cups with Pork in Peanut Sauce

These Lettuce Cups with Pork in Peanut Sauce is an Asian-inspired appetizer, side or entree which consists of ground pork cooked in onions, garlic, ginger, and red bell peppers, then flavored with oyster sauce. A thick, velvety peanut sauce is served on the side. Scoop the meat into the fresh, crisp lettuce cups, and enjoy like you would a taco. This Asian in America blog post by Elizabeth Ann Quirino was inspired by a recipe from Epicurious.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: Lettuce Cups Pork Peanut Sauce
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 465kcal
Author: Asian in America - Elizabeth Ann Quirino

Equipment

  • Large wok or skillet : 12 to 14 inches in diameter

Ingredients

Peanut Sauce

  • 6 to 8 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon toyo (soy sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon patis (fish sauce)
  • 2 stalks scallion greens, chopped, for garnish
  • 1 Tablespoon crushed peanuts, for garnish

Pork Stir Fry

  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 whole medium-sized onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 knob (1 inch piece) fresh ginger, chopped
  • 2 stalks scallion whites, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped red bell peppers
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 Tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 whole Bibb lettuce, leaves washed and separated; previously chilled

Instructions

To make the Peanut Sauce:

  • In a medium-sized bowl, mix all the ingredients together: peanut butter, brown sugar, soy sauce, lime zest, fresh ginger, fish sauce. Whisk together to combine.
    Garnish with scallion greens and crushed peanuts. Cover and set aside.

To make the Pork Stir Fry:

  • In a large wok or skillet, over medium-high heat, add the oil. When oil is hot enough in 2 minutes, stir fry the onions, garlic, ginger, scallion whites and red bell pepper. Stir fry for 2 minutes till soft and fragrant.
    Add the ground pork and combine with the ingredients. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes till meat transforms to a dark color.
    Pour the oyster sauce and add the brown sugar. Mix well.
    Season with ground black pepper.

To assemble Lettuce Cups:

  • Arrange the lettuce leaves on a platter, like individual cups. Scoop the meat mixture and place a few tablespoons into each cup.
    Serve the lettuce cups with pork, with the peanut sauce on the side.
    Garnish with chopped scallion greens all over. Serve warm.

Cook's comments:

  • You can also use ground chicken, or ground beef if preferred over ground pork. Adjust seasonings to a spicy level if desired by sprinkling sriracha sauce to the ground pork.
    Oyster sauce is a Chinese condiment made from oysters, water and salt. It is a multipurpose seasoning for many Asian dishes. It has a thick consistency and is quite salty in flavor. When I use oyster sauce as an ingredient I find there is no need to add salt to the dish.

Nutrition

Serving: 100g | Calories: 465kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 298mg | Potassium: 495mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 9IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 2mg

Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided  in the recipe links is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.

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