From time to time I ask friends of mine what kind of recipes they would like me to share on the blog. I have one friend who suggests sweets each time I ask her because frankly, I think she’s obsessed. So imagine my shock when I asked her a couple of weeks ago if she had anything in particular she’d like me to make. I fully expected her to say “Chocolate chocolate cake with sugar filling and sugar frosting topped with sugar” but instead she said, “You know, lettuce wraps would be nice.” And I agreed.
I first discovered lettuce wraps a few years ago when the whole anti-carb thing was super popular. I was a server during this time and all of a sudden everyone wanted their food wrapped in lettuce. You don’t want that bread with your sandwich? Wrap the filling in a piece of lettuce. You don’t want a bun with your double bacon cheeseburger? Sandwich it between two pieces of lettuce, it’s healthier right? I seriously had one customer tell me that. I on the other hand, didn’t fully embrace the new eating trend because, well any life without pasta is not one that I want to live. However, one thing I really did enjoy were the Asian style lettuce wraps filled with chicken, bean sprouts, water chestnuts and Asian spices. I love the contrast of the savory, yet slightly sweet filling, with the cool crunch of lettuce.
For this recipe, I decided to use a little Chinese five spice powder which you can find in the Asian aisle of your local grocery store. The most common variety has a bit of cinnamon in it that adds a nice touch of sweetness to the mixture. It also has flavors of ginger root, star anise and cloves.