Turkey Lettuce Cups



These lettuce cups are an explosion of flavor and texture.  You get an amazing crunch from the lettuce and water chestnuts and then the sweet and spicy from the sauces.  It’s also a beautiful looking dish, with splashes of color from the green onions and red peppers.




Start by browning the ground turkey with some garlic.



Have all your other filling ingredients chopped and ready to go.  Here I have cremini mushrooms, red bell pepper, green onion and water chestnuts.  Chop them all finely and set aside.



Add everything in except the green onions and saute until softened.



Shaohsing cooking wine is a staple in a Chinese pantry.  But if you’re not Chinese, or just don’t have any, you can substitute with sherry wine.



Hoisin sauce is another common flavoring item in Chinese cooking.  It is sort of like a sweet bbq sauce, but deeper in flavor.  This is very common in grocery stores now, so I’m sure you can find it in the Asian aisle at the store.



If you don’t know what Sriracha sauce is, it’s a very tasty and spicy chili sauce.  This can also be found easily at your local grocery store, probably close to the hoisin.



After adding in all the sauces, throw in the green onions.  I put the onions in last because I don’t want them to wilt down and lose its color or texture.  Add in the Chinese five spice, salt and white pepper to taste.



Here is the beautifully cooked turkey filling, ready to plopped on top of a leaf of iceberg lettuce.



Iceberg lettuce is really the best type to use for this dish.  It is firm and holds its shape well.  It also has the best crunch and is conveniently shaped like a bowl.  This is an ideal dish for  a low carb diet, but tasty enough that you won’t miss the carb at all!!


Turkey Lettuce Cups

Yield:  10 servings

1 ½ pounds ground turkey

2 cups fresh cremini mushrooms, diced

2 tablespoons canola oil

3 cloves garlic, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 small tin (6 to 8 oz) sliced water chestnuts, diced

3 green onions, diced

3 tablespoons Shaosing Chinese cooking wine

3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon Sriracha chile sauce

Kosher salt and white pepper

½ teaspoon Chinese five spice

1/2 large head iceberg lettuce, core removed, head quartered


Remove tough stems from mushrooms and brush with damp towel to clean, dice mushrooms.

Preheat a large skillet or wok to high.

Add oil to hot pan.  Add ground turkey to the pan and saute the meat by stir frying a minute or 2. Add garlic and cook another minute or two. Add in the Chinese five spice and salt and pepper to taste. Cook a minute more. Add bell pepper and chopped water chestnuts. Cook another minute, continuing to stir fry mixture. Add cooking wine, hoisin, sriracha and toss to coat the mixture evenly.  Add the green onions at the end to retain color and freshness.

Transfer the hot turkey mixture to serving platter and pile the quartered wedges of crisp iceberg lettuce along side. To eat, pile spoonfuls into a lettuce cup, wrapping lettuce around the filling and enjoy!

Mix It Up!

As you can tell from this two-gallon glass jar, we eat a lot of rice in my house.  This, my friend,  is nothing.

I grew up with an entire 20-gallon bucket of rice that was stored under the kitchen sink in my parents’ house.   It’s the only place it would fit and we couldn’t lift the thing more than 3 inches off the ground, sooo there it stayed!

I was the rice preparer in the family and I’ve washed and cooked enough rice as a child to consider it illegal child labor!

Unfortunately, according to my parents it is the job of every youngest child in the Chinese family to cook the rice.  The bright side is that now it’s my 6-year old daughter’s job in the kitchen.  The irony is………..she LOVES doing it!  It’s a win-win situation.

It seems the whole world is in a tizzy about eating healthy and organic, so I decided to ease my family into it a bit without causing a big raucous.  No, I haven’t totally cleared my pantry of processed food stuffs.

I would have a mutiny on my hands people!

So this is my kitchen tip for rice:  Mix it up!!  Add in organic brown rice with your regular white rice.  Genius, right?  My mixture here is 50/50.  You do have to remember that you either want to add more water when cooking the rice this way, or soak the rice in cold water for 30 minutes before cooking, to soften the brown rice.

This little tip has my family eating healthier without the big flavor shock and I feel like I pulled one over on the little buggers!