I’ve put my own spin to the classic Chinese dish, the lettuce wrap. Typically, this is made with minced whole duck (Peking Duck), after the bird’s crispy skin is served first as a hot appetizer with steamed pancakes, scallions (green onions), and hoisin sauce. Yum – but that’s a whole different topic altogether.
My version of the Chinese lettuce wrap is made with minced turkey – a bird rarely seen in Asian cuisine - which I feel is just as delicious as silky minced duck. Plus, it’s more budget-friendly! I used both dark and white turkey meat so there is a good mix of leanness and flavour. If like me, you fret about growth hormones and antibiotics being injected to poultry, just assume that they are, unless labelled otherwise. I know, it’s so sad these days, the state of our food…So, buy wisely, to the best of your knowledge and budget.
As indicated, this recipe is Paleo- and SCD-friendly if you omit the soy sauce and replace with coconut aminos (a natural product that tastes pretty close to soy sauce). As for the oyster sauce, traditional Asian brands almost always contain refined sugar, so that’s a no-go for Paleos. Better for Paleos to substitute oyster sauce with fermented shrimp paste or fish sauce (read labels carefully for additives).
We Chinese (and most Asians) like to dip food in various condiments – the spicier the better! Hence, I served these wraps with a Chili “Soy” (for Paleos, use coconut aminos) and Ginger Scallion Sauce (use coconut oil as the base). Delicious!
|Turkey Lettuce Wrap||
- 2 pounds (900 grams) hormone-free minced turkey, dark and white meat
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 2 celery stalks, finely diced
- 3 tablespoons coconut aminos* (can substitute with soy sauce)
- 3 tablespoons oyster sauce (omit if Paleo)
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
- bell peppers various colours, cut into batons
- green onions, julienned
- head lettuce, leaves separated
- Place large pan over medium heat and melt the coconut oil.
- When pan is hot and oil melted, sauté garlic, onion, and celery until fragrant and translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the minced turkey and cook until just done, about 5 to 6 minutes.
- Stir in coconut aminos and oyster sauce (if using). Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper; cook for another 5 minutes, stirring continuously. Make sure the meat is no longer pink. Cover, remove from heat, and set aside.
- Prepare the garnishes: wash the bell peppers and dry well before cutting into batons. Julienne the green onions and set them all in a platter.
- To prepare the lettuce wrap, wash the lettuce head and dry with a towel. Gently tear off each outer leaf until they are all separated.
- Serve with Chili Soy and Ginger Scallion Sauce. To make Chili Soy the traditional way, mix soy sauce (use coconut aminos, if Paleo) with some water and add sliced Thai red chili peppers. To make Ginger Scallion Sauce, mince scallions and ginger with a little bit of salt and set aside in a heatproof dish. Heat up a light-flavoured oil (use coconut oil, if Paleo) in the pan over medium-high, then remove oil from heat and pour on top of the ginger and scallion mixture.
*coconut aminos look and taste just like soy sauce. It’s a soy sauce substitute for Paleo, and it’s usually available in health food stores.