Thai Larb Lettuce Rolls

Another 20 minute lazy tasty dinner that you can easily make at home yourself but tastes like something you would order at a restaurant. This dish is a staple in my family and we make it every week. It’s actually the only food my toddler will specifically ask for (besides cookies and ice cream). When we first moved to Guam I was seeing lemongrass in all the grocery stores and I thought hmm that’s something you don’t see on the mainland every day. So I learned to cook with it and my two favorite things to make are Thai larb salad and Tom kha soup (for a later post). This dish is technically a salad but it can be eaten so many ways. You can take the meat mixture and heat it up on top of some brown rice. This is how I serve it to my toddler because I want him to eat something more substantial than a salad for dinner. Also I have used different kinds of lettuce and I have found that it is equally delicious with romaine, red leaf lettuce, and ice berg lettuce. I love ice berg because it is so crisp and refreshing and goes perfectly with this dish but you can literally use any kind of lettuce. Honestly, I use the one that looks least dead in the commissary.

Everything you need! Except I’m a space cadet and forgot the purple onion! you need 1/4 of a purple onion, finely sliced. I’m so sad I forgot it this time.

You will need 3 stalks of lemongrass with dry outer layers peeled off and you take the inside white part and finely chop it. Normally this dish is made with ground pork but the commissary never has ground pork so I use the frozen ground turkey and it tastes just as good. Just make sure you use the 93% lean and not the 97% lean because that one will taste very dry. First I get the turkey cooking in a skillet with a little bit of butter just so it doesn’t stick. Add the finely chopped lemongrass to the turkey as it is cooking. Also put pepper to taste with the meat. While the meat is cooking make the sauce. I like to use one lemon and one lime but you can use two limes or two lemons. You need to get 1/3 cup of juice out of the lemon/lime.

To the lemon/lime juice you add two tablespoons of mae ploy sweet chili sauce and two tablespoons of fish sauce. Mix it all together. I enjoy the flavor of fish sauce so I add a teensy bit more than two tablespoons but be careful because it is very salty as this is the source of salt for the dish. Once the sauce is done finely slice 1/4 of a red onion.

Add the sauce over the meat!

Once the meat is cooked allow it to cool for a few minutes then add the sauce on top and mix it all together. This is not supposed to be served piping hot. It’s a cold dish. To make the lettuce rolls split the leaves in half and spread some filling on top. If you are using romaine lettuce it’s really easy you just fill up the leaves and you have lettuce boats!

I’m crying! It needs red onion so bad!

Roll them up and serve them on a plate. This would be a good appetizer to make for a party or to take to someone’s house. When we make this at home just for ourselves for dinner I don’t get this fancy. I chop the lettuce and mix it in with the meat and have it in a bowl like a salad.

Chopped tomatoes and cilantro are a nice little garnish for this dish.

I hope you guys enjoyed this and if you try it out it will be so fast and easy and delicious. Just don’t forget the red onion like I did. It really makes a big difference and adds that extra something. You can, however, leave out your millennial avocados. Not every salad needs a goddamn avocado. And I know you were thinking about it!

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb ground turkey or pork
  • 1/2 tbs butter
  • ground pepper to taste
  • 3 stalks lemongrass finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup lemon/lime juice
  • 2 tbs fish sauce
  • 2 tbs mae ploy sweet chili sauce
  • 1/4 red onion very finely sliced
  • any head of lettuce
  • 1 small tomato chopped
  • 1 tbs cilantro
Directions
  1. Cook ground meat in a skillet with butter and finely chopped lemongrass.
  2. While meat is cooking prepare sauce. Mix lemon/lime juice with fish sauce and sweet chili sauce. Chop the onion while you are waiting.
  3. When meat is done let it cool for 3 minutes. Then add the sauce and thoroughly mix it together. Add in the red onion.
  4. Serve in romaine lettuce boats, or put mixture in bib lettuce and make rolls. You could also chop lettuce and mix it with the meat.
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