I am a wrapper and am not ashamed to admit it. No, not a rapper. Definitely not a rapper. In fact, if I ever try to rap or beatbox in public or anywhere else, feel free to tackle me to the ground and drag me away before my inner hip hop diva takes over. The kind of wrapping I can do without embarrassing my children (although that is one of the little unspoken joys of parenthood) involves lettuce, tortillas, pitas, and gyoza wrappers. The seemingly limitless options range from tofu to flank steak, rice noodles to salad, and tzatziki to tandoori. Each culture has its own take on the wrap, using a variety of edible packages and fillings. Mexico has the burrito, Greece has the gyro, Korea has the spring roll…you get the point.
The intention was to fill these lettuce leaves with soba noodles, vegetables and a hoisin chili garlic sauce. The sauce was made and the vegetables were prepped when I discovered that the soba noodles had disappeared (into my stomach a few days ago). Whole wheat spaghetti noodles were a good stand-in, but I recommend soba if you have them. This healthy dish, made with minimal oil but plenty of flavor, works well as an appetizer. Add some grilled or sauteed shrimp, chicken, flank steak, or tofu and you will have a meal fit for any wrapper…or rapper.
Whisk together 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 2 tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon mirin, 2 tablespoon hoisin sauce, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger, and 1 tsp chili garlic sauce.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add 8 ounces soba noodles or whole wheat spaghetti. If using spaghetti, break the noodles in half before adding to the water. Cook according to package directions. Drain the noodles and rinse well with cold water. Drain again.
Heat 1 teaspoon canola oil in a large skillet set over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh ginger. Saute for 1 minute. Add 1 clove garlic, sliced, and saute for additional 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, remove the ginger and garlic from the oil and discard.
To the oil, add 4 ounces snow peas, trimmed and cut in half; 3/4 red bell pepper, cut into thin slices and in half; and 2 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks.
Rasa Malaysia’s Lettuce-Wrapped Chicken
Kalyn’s Kitchen Asian Lettuce Cups (or Wraps) with Spicy Ground Turkey Filling
Viet World Kitchen’s Grilled Pork Belly Lettuce Wraps
Under the Highchair’s Sesame Beef Lettuce Wraps
Soba Noodle & Vegetable Lettuce Wraps with Hoisin & Chili Sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp honey
1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 tsp chili garlic sauce
8 oz. soba noodles or whole wheat spaghetti
1 tsp canola oil
1 tbsp peeled and roughly chopped fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, sliced
4 oz. snap peas, trimmed and cut in half
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
3/4 red bell pepper, thinly sliced and cut in half
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
1 head Boston leaf lettuce, leaves separated and washed
Whisk together sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, mirin, hoisin sauce, honey, ginger, and chili garlic sauce.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add soba noodles or whole wheat spaghetti. If using spaghetti, break the noodles in half before adding to the water. Cook according to package directions. Drain the noodles and rinse well with cold water. Drain again.
Heat canola oil in a large skillet set over high heat. Add fresh ginger. Saute for 1 minute. Add garlic, sliced, and saute for additional 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, remove the ginger and garlic from the oil and discard.
To the oil, add snow peas, red bell pepper, and carrots. Saute for 1 minute, or until the vegetables are tender-crisp. Add the vegetables and toasted sesame seeds to the noodles, pour in the sauce, and toss gently to coat.
Separate and wash the leaves of one head of Boston leaf lettuce. Serve with the noodle mixture with the lettuce leaves so that each diner can fill and roll the lettuce leaves. Eat with your hands.
Serves 4 as an appetizer.