Thai Pork Lettuce Wraps

Still feeling full from Thanksgiving, I was looking for a dinner that wasn’t too heavy. While pork wasn’t the first thing that jumped into my mind, the bright lime-based dressing and Boston lettuce kept the meal fresh and light. Certainly a big change from my usual fare. I have been saving this episode from season 10 of America’s Test Kitchen on my DVR for a few months.

Unique and light, and theoretically ready in a little over an hour.

The recipe is here. Cut pork into 1-inch cubes and freeze for 15-minutes. Process in food processor in two batches, with five 1-second pulses. Stir in 1 tablespoon fish sauce and let marinade in refrigerator for 15 minutes. Heat rice in small skillet until deep golden brown, about 5 minutes, let cool for 5 minutes then grind with spice grinder into a fine powder. Bring 1/4-cup chicken broth to simmer in 12-inch nonstick skillet; add pork and cook about 2 minutes. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon rice powder over pork and cook until pork is no longer pink, 1-1/2 minutes longer. Let pork cool in a large bowl fro 10 minutes. Add the remaining 1-1/2 tablespoons fish sauce, 2 teaspoons of rice powder, 2 finely sliced shallots, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 3 tablespoons roughly chopped mint, and 3 tablespoons roughly chopped; toss to combine, and serve over Boston lettuce leaves.

Issues:

  1. I couldn’t find natural pork tenderloin in my supermarket.They only had those disgusting “enhanced” tenderloins (which are at least 30% other ingredients). In the end, I chose a nice piece of natural loin. It cost the same $2/lb, but was not as tender as the tenderloin. But for me it was much more important that it be “natural”.
  2. The recipe calls for letting the pork to cool for 10 minutes after cooking. But by the time  I ate my third wrap, they were quite cold. Next time I will try skipping the 10 minute wait and go straight to the table.
  3. I was able to find Chris Kimball’s runner-up fish sauce; Thai Kitchen Fish Sauce. It was $3.19.

I’d give these wraps 4 stars. They were quite bright and refreshing. They didn’t feel heavy, but still had complex flavors. I would have preferred mine hotter (after letting rest for 10 minutes there were only lukewarm). I’m not sure how they were intended to be served.

Rating: 4-stars.
Cost: $5
How much work? Low/Medium.
How big of a mess?  Medium/High.
Start time 4:15 PM. Dinner time 6:00 PM.

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