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Serves 8 people as a side dish or 4 people for a main meal Time:15 minutes
Author The Food Nanny


  • Sauce:
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil in the Asian section of your grocery store
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili paste and more for garnish (in the Asian section of your grocery store)
  • Filling:
  • 12-18 Butter lettuce leaves one head, rinsed and dried. Sometimes called Boston Bib. (Butter lettuce has very soft cupped leaves, perfect for lettuce wraps). Or Iceberg lettuce, rinsed and dried.
  • 3 Tablespoons sesame oil or olive oil
  • 1 lb. fresh ground pork finely ground
  • 1/4 cup shallot or onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/3 cup canned water chestnuts diced
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • Plan Ahead: Buy sesame oil rice wine vinegar and red chili paste. You will use these ingredients over and over again to make these delicious Lettuce Wraps. Wash the lettuce leaves ahead of time, dry with paper towels and place in a plastic bag. Refrigerate


  1. Rinse the lettuce leaves. Drain well. Pat dry with paper towels. Place in a plastic bag and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  2. In a small bowl stir together 2 Tablespoons sugar and 1/4 cup warm water until dissolved. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, lime juice, sesame oil, and chili paste. Mix well. Set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a wok or a large frying pan over medium/ high heat. Stir-fry the pork quickly in the oil breaking the meat up as much as possible. Add the onions, garlic and water chestnuts and continue to stir-fry until the pork is cooked through and the onions are soft. Add the brown sugar, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar. Cook until the liquid has evaporated. A couple of minutes. Serve warm.
  4. *There are many brands of red chili paste. The one I recommend is in most grocery stores- Sambal Oelek Ground Fresh Chili Paste, Huy Fong Foods, Inc; 8 oz. jar.
  5. To Serve: Place the cold, rinsed and dried lettuce leaves on a plate. Spoon the pork mixture into a dish. Pour the sauce into a small bowl. Let people make their own lettuce wrap. Spoon some meat mixture onto a lettuce leaf. Spoon on some sauce. Spoon on extra red chili paste for more flavor. Fold the lettuce over like a taco and eat. Plan on 3 to 4 lettuce wraps per person if serving for lunch or dinner. Less per person as a side dish. (I don't fill them very full. )