Sunday, July 15, 2012

Lettuce Wraps - east meets southeast Asian style

This is not in anyway a traditional Korean recipe. The Marinade itself is adapted from a Korean recipe, and I do believe in using the more superior Korean ingredients.  Korean sesame oil, soy sauce, sesame seeds, etc.  This is just how I like my lettuce wraps.  Korean grilled chicken, a mixture of Korean and S.E. Asian toppings and sauces. When it comes to Lettuce wraps it is totally personal.  I'd say, don't bother listening to someone else's method.  Just say, what kinda meat sounds good to you, what sorta veggies do you crave?  What dipping sauces turn your lettuce wrap into crack on veg?  Just make it the way you want it.

Korean Grilled Chicken

¼ Cup Korean Organic Soy Sauce 
2 TBS White Sugar
1 TBS Soju
1 TBS Honey
4 TBS Freshly Squeezed Pineapple Juice (Not from Concentrate), You can get this at Trader Joes
1 TBS of Korean Sesame Oil
1 TBS Korean Roasted Sesame Seeds
A good dash of Extra Bold Black Pepper
4 fat cloves of garlic
2 stalks of green onion
1 Inch of Ginger

First to make the marinade. Take a good cavernous vessel and proceed to add in the following ingredients:
The Soy Sauce
The Sugar
The Soju. That’s rice wine to you.
My Local Oregon Raw Honey. Mmmmmm.
The Freshly Squeezed Pineapple Juice. And don’t let me catch you using that canned stuff, and definitely not the stuff from concentrate! Bad. Very Bad.
And now for my ultimate favorite. The Korean Toasted Sesame Oil. I would bath in this. I would moisturize my whole body in this. Amber liquid gold this is. ‘Tis more beautiful than all the rubies and emeralds in the world. Although, I wouldn’t mind being given an emerald. I’d by very okay with that.
The Roasted Korean Sesame Seeds. Don’t just use any kind. Not Bulk. Not McCormick’s. It has to be Korean, it has to say roasted. This stuff is better than salt on your food. Yum.
Now take your beautifully green spring onions and fresh stinky garlic and
Mince ‘em up real fine.
Add 'em to your marinade.
Now my specially box of freshly rough ground Extra Bold black pepper. I highly recommend heading on over to Penzey’s to get a big 4 ounce bag of this stuff. It is the most aromatic, delicious black pepper I have ever cooked with. The smell, the scent, truly intoxicating. Add a big old fat pinch to your marinade.
And then add in you minced ginger, cuz you’ve been a total silly and forgot all about it. Mmm. ginger. The Lord really knew what he was doing when he invented this gorgeous rhizome.
Now Take your chicken thighs and prick them all over with a fork. I like to think this helps the marinade penetrate my meat as quickly as possible. It seems to help, so I’ve always done it.
Now bring these two together for a match made in heaven. The chicken and marinade that is.  Leave to marinate for as long as possible. Although, I’ve had excellent results in letting this marinate for the length of time it takes my coals to be ready. Now to the grill.
How beautiful a sight is that. Grill these baby's over a direct heat while watching closing. I use a tiny little guy, so I only need to fill up my chimney coal starter about half way. Make sure to create a spot for indirect heat as well. This will allow any chicken that is turning a little too dark on the outside to continue cooking on the inside.
Pop that lid on whilst the meat is cooking away. Make sure all holes are open to allow your fire to breath and the smoke to get all nice nice with the meat inside. Cook the chicken in total about 10 - 15 minutes, or until firm-ish to the touch and the juices run clear.  
The Feast. I like to put just about everything but the kitchen sink in my lettuce wraps. Once the chicken gets sliced real thin after resting a wee bit I like to pull out all my toppings. My suggested toppings (as seen in the picture) are:

Pre-shredded cabbage
My homemade Quick pickled carrots:
Julienne the carrots, toss in a sprinkle of salt, leave to drain 15 minutes, rinse and squeeze, add enough sugar to coat, and enough vinegar to balance out the sweet, taste as you go)
Thinly sliced red onion 
Basil leaves 
Sliced red bell pepper 
Grilled mushrooms, garlic, bell peppers, and green onions (toss in peanut oil, salt and pepper, grill or stir fry till they look yummy to you)
Choice of red leaf, iceberg, or butter lettuce (whatever you like, really)
My Homemade Vietnamese dipping sauce: 
Juice of a lime 
3 TBS white sugar 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce
2 TBS fish sauce 
2 TBS white distilled vinegar
My homemade Korean garlic sauce: 
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 green onion, minced
salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 Cup Korean toasted sesame oil
My homemade Korean hot sauce: I can't remember how I made this. It contains the following:
hot pepper paste, sesame oil, soy sauce, sesame seeds, white distilled vinegar, minced garlic, black pepper, honey, mirin, sugar, white miso, etc. Just too much. It's real good though. I recommend starting with a basic Korean Lettuce wrap dipping sauce you find on line.

My gorgeous creation before I devour it.
Pretty much just put whatever you want into your freekin' lettuce wrap, drizzle on all three sauces.  And stuff your pie hole with this veggie engorged lettuce wrap from heaven.  Sooooo good.

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