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Thai-Style Lettuce Cups

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Martin Yan Recipe

These tasty and unique lettuce cups are great for socializing. You can make this recipe with beef and pork, but chicken or turkey is the brain friendly way to go.

Prep/Cook Time: 40 Minutes


  • 2 tablespoons uncooked rice
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 1 pound lean ground beef, pork or turkey
  • 4 stalks asparagus, tough ends trimmed, cut into ¼-inch rounds
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Romaine or butter lettuce leaves
  • Lime wedges, for garnish


  1. Place a small frying pan over medium heat until hot. Add the rice; cook, shaking pan, until the rice is nicely browned, about 3 minutes. Let cool. Using a spice grinder, grind the rice to a fine powder.
  2. Place a wok or stir-fry pan over high heat until hot. Add the oil, swirling to coat the sides. Add the red pepper and shallots; cook, stirring, until the shallots soften, about 30 seconds. Add the meat; cook until browned and crumbly, about 3 minutes. Remove any excess liquid from the pan. Add the asparagus and rice; stir until any liquid is absorbed, about 30 seconds. Add the cilantro and mint; mix well. Season with the lime juice, fish sauce and sugar.
  3. To serve, arrange the meat mixture in the center of a serving platter surrounded by the lettuce leaves. Serve with the lime wedges on the side. To eat, spoon some of the meat mixture in a lettuce leaf, fold the lettuce around the filling, and eat out of hand.