Asian Lettuce Wraps

I was traveling out to Los Angeles in the late 90s and went for the first time to Chin Chin, an amazingly delicious and expensive Asian restaurant that attracted the whose who from the entertainment industry.  Of course, we were all in blue blazers or suits and looked terribly out of place.  This was evident when the waiter approached the table and immediately asked if we were from the East coast.  Oh well, so much for fitting in with the hip folks.

That said, I had their chicken lettuce wraps and fell in love with the flavor and texture.  I’ve tinkered with the recipe for a long time and have landed on using ground beef instead of the traditional recipe.

This is always a big hit with guests and I highly recommend it as a party treat or appetizer for a sit down dinner.


  • 30 Boston bibb butter or iceberg large lettuce leaves
  • 3 pounds of ground beef, 80:20 ratio
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups of yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar 
  • 1/4 cup and 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, seperated
  • 2 tablespoons of Sriracha sauce
  • 1 1/2 cup of hoison sauce, separated
  • 2 8 oz cans of water chestnuts, drained and chopped
  • 1/4 cup of celery, chopped 
  • 1/4 cup scallions, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Making It

  • In a large skillet over a medium flame, let the oil get hot then add the onions and red pepper flakes.  Sauté for 8 minutes and add the garlic and cook for a minute then drizzle the rice wine vinegar until it has evaporated 
  • Crumble the beef into the pan and sauté for 7 minutes then add the 1/2 cup of soy, 2 tablespoons of Sriracha, 1 cup of hoison, cook down until almost evaporated and add the chestnuts celery, scallions and cook for 5 minutes, add the remaining soy and hoison sauce, mix in then season to your taste
  • Serve with crisp lettuce and the extra hoison sauce for dipping

3 comments on “Asian Lettuce Wraps

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