Sunday, June 29, 2014

Thai-ish Beef Lettuce Wraps with Almond Ramen Crunch

This is a Thai-ish recipe, or as the sushi chef told me the other night when I was describing the dish to him, an "American" version of Thai beef. Ohhhh bam. He would have been more impressed if I’d used Thai Basil he said. "Americans can only attempt at Thai food" I believe was the statement (aka your white, don't even try Thai). At which point I was compelled to say something about our Thai sushi chef....hmmmm the irony was not lost on me. I held my tongue in kindness & I really just wished we could give each other high fives and say, "Hell yeah, good for you! You're making it happen, putting in the effort and doing a damn good job." Sometimes it seems we can be so eager to tear one another down to mask our own worries of inferiority. Oh well. My "American" version is delicious, so I'm excited to share the recipe.

The Ramen Almond topping adds that extra good crunch in these lettuce wraps and you can use it in place of croutons on almost any salad. I borrowed the recipe from my mom’s yummy Napa Cabbage Salad because I thought the crunch would go well with the softer beef. Yes, oh Yes, indeed it did. I’m not a peanut lover, per say, in foods, but adding the peanuts would give it a little extra Thai profile. Maybe the sushi chef would have been more impressed if I’d told him about the peanuts? A great recipe to keep in your back pocket because it’s EASY & versatile! I’m all about that life.

Thai-ish Beef Lettuce Wraps

2.5 lbs Cubed Beef Steak
1 tsp Oil
4 Sprigs Mint, chopped
2 Sprigs Basil, chopped
2 Large Green Onions, chopped
8 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tsp Ginger, grated
2 Tbsp Red Onion, grated
1/3 Red Jalapeno, minced
1 Lime
Sprinkle of Salt

Butter, Romaine or Iceberg Lettuce for wrapping


¼ Cup Soy Sauce
¼ Cup Water
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
1/2 Tbsp Red Chili Flakes + or – depending on your spicy taste buds
1 tsp Grated Ginger
½ tsp Salt

Almond Ramen Crunch

3 Oz. Bag Almonds, chopped
1 Pack Ramen Noodles, broken into pieces
2 Tbsp Butter
Peanuts (opt.)

First thing’s first, get the Ramen Almond Topping going low and slow. Add all ingredients -butter, almonds & dry crunched up ramen noodles- to a warm pan and keep your heat setting medium.

Toss the flavor packet or save it for some other use…not sure what exactly but I’m sure there’s a Pinterest post about Ramen Packets somewhere. You’ll start to smell the butter browning the almonds, that’s when you know to turn it down to the lowest setting. Let it soak in the warm butter while you cook/prep the dish.

Now onto the filling of your wrap…Thai Beef mmmmm! Brown the cubed beef steak for 30 minutes, stirring every so often. Use your spoon to break the meat up as it cooks. While the meat works, chop/mince/grate the ingredients, as listed above. You can keep everything in one bowl once chopped; you’ll add it all together later. Makes for easy clean up!

Mix up your sauce and set aside, also.

Grate the peel of the lime over the beef, then squeeze lime juice over as well. Let that jam for a few minutes.

Now that the beef is good & browned & full of citrus, add all the goodies you just chopped up- Mint, Basil, Green Onion, Garlic, Ginger, Red Onion, Red Jalapeno.

Pour sauce over meat & let the sauce work to get the little brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Errr My Gawd, this is getting good. Again, let that jam a few minutes and pull of the heat for serving.

Sauce & Ingredients added & given a good mix before serving

Serve warm with crisp lettuce “cups”, Almond Ramen Crunchies and chilled Thai Sliced Cucumbers recipe found here:

Makes for a fun dinner family style, where everyone makes their own wraps & chooses their toppings.

Served here in Coconut Cup on a Banana Leaf for decoration. Yummy!!!

On a last note, back to my exchange with the Thai Sushi chef, who was actually a pretty cool person. I am on a mission to build people up. To support & encourage whenever I can.  I catch a lot of negativity about blogging from people who maybe don't "get it" or whatever they've got going on. I understand it. Sometimes the negativity succeeds in bringing me down, being discouraged or can make me weary. But at the end of the day, I know what I love to do, and I think this goes for all of us, when you love to do something, you are good at doing it your way. Your own little finesse, your personality stamped on.

As for the negativity that can surround us and attempt to bring us down... I don't support or encourage it, and I wont give it legs. I keep doing my damn thing and will encourage and be excited for those out there doing theirs!! My hope is we can all show the love; it could change everything.

We can love and honor one another's achievements, as if they are our own & grow in strength and love together. A quote I heard last week really wrapped it up in a small package 

"Success breeds success"

So, for those of you out there doing your thang & doing it great, high fives & applauds; keep up the great work, keep going, keep striving! We'll get there, wherever there may be.

Love to you all <3 nbsp="" p="">Until next time…Happy Cooking!


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