Monday, 24 June 2013

Leafy Wrappinghood

Trittato di Manzo alle 5 Spezie Asiatiche in Lattuga
5-Spice Minced Beef & Lettuce Rolls

So there I was, making my little supper with the radio playing and one of my old favorites, "The Wordy Rappinghood" by the Tom Tom Club came on... what memories! So, bopping around the kitchen, I whipped up this easy little meal- a do-it-yourself version of an Asian lettuce wrap that can be made in next to no time and that is bound to please! So I went from my "rappinghood" to "wrapping food"- and was almost finished cooking by the time the song had finished! Ok, that is cheating a little, because they were playing the 12" version that lasts almost 10 minutes... but still! 

As silly as the song is- it is still good fun! And as simple as this food is- it is still a great meal! I used lean ground beef to make it, adding only a few drops of sesame oil right at the end for seasoning. So this was filling, but relatively light... for those of you on the no-carb bandwagon- this one is for you. For those who couldn't care less about any diet fads, but just like to enjoy sensible, tasty, feel-good food (like me), this is for all of you too!

To prepare the beef for these 3 lettuce shells, I needed 1 Spring onion, or scallion, a 1" piece of ginger, finely grated, 1 stick of celery, 1 small red and 1 small yellow mini bell pepper and about 1 handful of cilantro. I finely chopped all of these ingredients, added them to the ground beef and fried them in a dry non-stick pan for 4-5 minutes. I added a good teaspoon of 5-spice powder, a splash of soy sauce, a squeeze of lime juice and carried on stirring and frying until the meat was pretty well-done. By that time the vegetables had a nice sheen, were cooked, but still had plenty of bite to them. And all of the hard work was done! All I needed to do was to add a drop or two of sesame oil, stir things through and allow the meat to cool off a little.

Nest step was simply to spoon up the tasty beef and vegetable filling into the lettuce- a firm, crispy romaine in this case. The seasoning so far had been rather subtle except for the 5-spice powder... but 2 further ingredients were yet to come, that would bring balance, depth of flavor and quite a bit of heat along with them!

First of all, a nice light squeeze of rich "hoisin sauce and then secondly, a little squeeze of HOT chili sauce... ouch! Suddenly I was feeling taste-buds that I didn't
even know I possessed come to life... and smiling because this supper was so simple and so good! And so I hope you give it a try and make it for yourselves- this is my kinda finger-food! 

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