One of my favourite things to order out has always been Chinese lettuce wraps.
Wraps are one of the few things I can almost guarantee will still be healthy even once they’ve been cooked by a restaurant (why do they always want to overload things with butter, salt or sugar??). Having said that, even the lettuce wraps could be pretty salty.
That’s why I was so happy when I was able to recreate these lettuce wraps at home, using a low-sodium soy sauce to avoid the salt overload. The crispness of a lettuce leaf as your wrap adds necessary texture while also keeping each wrap light enough that you don’t fill up so fast, so you can eat way more than just a few!
A couple of things to note:
- If you like ‘wetter’ wrap filling, times the sauce ingredients measurements by 1.5 or double them. If you find it is too wet when cooking, just heat it for longer as the cornstarch in the sauce will eventually thicken it up and it won’t be so watery.
- You can really add any veggies you like in any quantity to this sauce. I use so much cabbage because it really cooks down to nothing, but you can always swap out half the cabbage for another vegetable, or just add extra vegetables on top of the current measurements.
Hopefully your Chinese food appetite will be satiated with this dish, so maybe you’ll find your takeout bills go down!
Feel free to sub in any other sauce ingredients you feel will work, but try to stick to the soy sauce and sesame oil as they really help flavour the dish. If you’re gluten-free, try tamari instead of soy sauce.
Anna’s Asian Lettuce Wraps
INGREDIENTS (serves 4 as appetizer; 2 as main course):
1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp honey
2 small or medium eggs
1/2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tbsp canola oil, divided
1 tsp minced ginger
1 cup stemmed shiitake mushrooms, cut into thin strips
1 tsp minced garlic
4-5 cups of shredded cabbage and carrot combined (you can buy this as “coleslaw mix”, bagged in the produce section. If you use the raw ingredients and shred them yourself, then use 1 1/2 cups cabbage and 1 cup carrots)
2 green onions, sliced on the diagonal
1 cup crispy wonton noodles
1 iceberg lettuce head, leaves separated
1. To make sauce: Combine all sauce ingredients and whisk together. Set aside.
2. To make filling: Whisk together egg, soy sauce and sesame oil in bowl. Heat 1 tsp canola oil in frying pan over medium heat. Add eggs, swirl to spread over pan and cook for 1 minute. Flip with spatula and cook for another minute. Slide onto cutting board and slice into thin strips. Set aside.
3. Add remaining 1 tsp oil to wok and heat over medium-high heat. Add ginger, garlic and mushrooms and stirfry 5 minutes or until mushrooms are golden. Add cabbage, carrots and green onions and stirfry 2 minutes more. Stir in sauce, simmer 2-3 mins or until sauce thickens. Add egg strips to stirfry mixture. Fold in crispy wonton noodles and remove from heat. Transfer to a bowl to serve.
4. Separate iceberg lettuce head into leaves. This can be tricky but there’s an excellent blog post on how to do that here.
5. Serve lettuce leaves on a platter and filling in a bowl, and allow diners to assemble by themselves. Enjoy!
Nutritional information per serving (if serves 4):