RECIPE: SPICY BEEF LETTUCE CUPS
RECIPE LEVEL: BEGINNER
TIME: 30 MINS
- 1 lb. Ground Beef (Go lean, please. It's absolutely unnecessary to use a high fat percentage beef in this recipe. I used 90% lean)
- 2 tbsp. of Roasted Garlic Oil (You can, of course, go neutral, such as sunflower or groundnut oil. I went with a flavored vegetable oil because it adds extra oomph to your recipe early on, with zero effort on your part!)
- 1 tbsp. Fish Sauce
- 2 tbsp. Light Soy Sauce
- 2 tbsp. Red Chili Flakes (or adjust to your taste. We love spicy in this household!)
- 1 tbsp. freshly minced Ginger (try to find a young and tender root - the older the ginger gets, the more fibrous and tough it is)
- 1/2 a large White Onion, finely chopped
- 4-6 large Garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1/2 cup of Spring Onion greens, chopped (leave out the white part nearer to the root - this is only for garnish, so we want the milder, green part)
- 1 tbsp. of Toasted Sesame Seed Oil (optional - for a finishing touch and that wonderful nutty flavor)
- A whole head of Iceberg Lettuce - separate the leaves to form the 'cups' that'll hold your spicy beef mixture
Now, when I said that this was an 'easy' recipe to begin with, I was kinda' kidding. This isn't even a real recipe to begin with! It's THAT easy. Even so, I'll break it down into these simple steps for you guys!
- Heat up the 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil in a wok/heavy bottomed non-stick pan, over medium-high heat.
- Once the oil is quite hot, add your ground beef to it. You should hear a sizzling sound when the beef goes in. This will ensure that the beef browns nicely, and doesn't steam in its juices - which it will do if you cook it over a low heat.
- Make sure you use a wooden spatula to break up the beef into little bits - so they're not all in large clumps!
- Once the beef is cooked through and nicely browned, remove it from the pan and transfer to a bowl. Set aside,
- To the same pan, add in your finely chopped onion and the minced ginger and garlic. Saute them until the onions are lightly golden-brown. Please keep an eye on this, so that the garlic doesn't burn. Nobody likes burnt garlic!
- Time to add the beef back to the pan! The reason we removed the beef was to give the onion and garlic enough space and sufficient heat to caramelize properly.
- Once the beef is back in, it's only a matter of adding in all of the remaining spices and sauces - the soy, the fish sauce, the chili flakes - and toss everything around for about 2 minutes. The mixture should look like in the image above.
- As a finishing touch, I love adding a splash of toasted sesame seed oil, for it adds a lovely, nutty flavor and really elevates the dish to a different level. Squeeze in some lemon/lime juice if you have it handy - I didn't on this day, but I often add that, as well.
- Allow the mixture to cool just a tad bit - this is so that when we spoon the mixture into the lettuce cups, we don't want the lettuce to wilt immediately, which it will if the beef is too hot.
- Assemble the cups on a platter, spoon anywhere between 1-2 tbsp. of the spicy beef mixture into each cup, top with a bit of fresh spring onion greens (and even some fresh cilantro, if you have some), and voila! Yummy summer appetizer, done in about 20-30 minutes!
I hope you enjoyed that, guys! Let me know in the comments below what you think!