My cousin couldn’t cook to save her life. In fact, she has 3 kids and is preggers with another one and STILL can’t cook. I love her dearly, but lets just say I have been cooking for us since we were kids. Not everything has been a triumph, admittedly, there were some ill-fated childhood culinary experiments that SHOULD have resulted in food poisoning, but thankfully never did.
I am still cooking for her and her family to this very day; hell, I actually enjoy it. It’s not a bother, the family love it, she buys the ingredients and I cook the meal. Quick and easy… But recently I made a few things for her and her declaration of love for them somewhat blind-sided me (well, preggers hormones etc) so I thought I should share these achingly simple recipes and so here I go with the first one; and it’s SO EASY that even my cousin has made it since!
Spicy Beef Lettuce Wraps
350g of best quality mince (preferably from the butcher!)
3 fat lemongrass sticks
3 inches of peeled, freshginger
2 birds eye chillies (or 1 if you can’t stand the heat)
2 generous tablespoons of dark soy sauce (I love Kikkomans)
4 whole spring onions, thinly sliced
A generous handful of finely chopped fresh coriander
A little pinch of Maldon sea salt
2 heads of Gem Lettuce hearts – leaves seperated, washed & dried
Sweet chilli sauce to serve (I like Blue Dragon brand)
reheat your pan over a high heat (medium-high is using gas). Then bash your lemongrass stalks and peel the tougher outer leaves away, trim the ends off and finely slice the softer centre lemongrass stalks. Slice your ginger into matchsticks and then finely dice and thinly slice your chillies, leaving the seeds in.
Drizzle a little oil into the pan and add your ginger, lemongrass and chilli and stir well to prevent from sticking/burning. As soon as you see them beginning to brown, add your minced beef and whack the heat up and keep stirring to prevent the beef from ‘stewing’ in the pan. You want it to almost brown a little rather then become all grey and flabby.
Once the meat is cooking through, making sure there is no meat juice or excess liquid in the pan (this usually happens once the meat is fully cooked) add your soy sauce and just a tiny pinch of salt. Mix well and taste, you can always add a little more soy sauce if desired. Once the soy has been absorbsed, remove from heat and then add in the sliced spring onions and also the chopped coriander. Mix well and serve the minced beef along with the lettuce leaves and a generous amount of sweet chilli sauce and enjoy! Kids love it too (my nephew – pictured above - GOBBLED it down, spice or no spice!) but feel free to omit one chilli, if need be.