Thursday, March 27, 2008

Beef Lettuce Wraps

My parents always had a garden at every house we lived in. They enjoyed growing their own produce and maintaining it. I remember our gardens consisted of tomatoes, cucumber, all kinds of hot peppers, long green beans, eggplants, mustard greens, mint, cilantro, thai basil, basil, dill, vietnamese coriander, mixed lettuce, and many other vegetables. We even grew different kinds of melons and squash. One of the dishes I remember eating is this one. I don't know the proper Lao name for it, but it's a 'beef lettuce wrap' similiar to Thai chicken lettuce wraps, however in my family we put it all inside a spring roll wrapper and dip it in a sauce made of peanut butter, hoisen sauce, and coconut milk.I tried to copy my mom's recipe, but this is my version of it. Her cooking always tastes so much better.
For the dipping sauce:
1 minced shallot
vegetable oil
coconut milk
crunchy peanut butter
hoisen sauce
chili garlic sauce

I heated up some vegetable oil to sautee the shallot. I added some chili garlic sauce, the hoisen sauce, and peanut butter. The amounts vary according to taste. Then I added 1/4 of the coconut milk and mixed while still on the burner. I added enough water for the desired consistency.
I took 1.5lbs of thinly sliced beef and marinated it with sugar, soy sauce, and ground tumeric. I sliced 1/2 a white onion and 3 garlic cloves.
I sauteed the onions and garlic in vegetable oil and added the meat.
Here is the spring roll wrapper. You just dip it into water and let it sit on a flat surface until it's pliable. Then that's when you start building the spring roll. I usually add some rice vermicelli, lettuce, green onion, mint leaves, cilantro, cucumber, and shredded carrots. And I roll it like an eggroll.

I'm not very good at making them. My family members usually overstuff the rolls with lettuce and the vermicelli. I love this dish. It's versatile, you can use any kind of protien. Shrimp is always a good choice. And you can use any kind of dipping sauce. My mom has served it with nuoc mam and mam nem dipping sauces (I think those are the Vietnamese names).