Vietnamese Lettuce Wraps Recipe

Guests can simply fold their choice of ingredients like rice noodles, meatballs and veggies into crisp lettuce leaves.

1 recipe Spiced Pork Balls (see below)
1 recipe Pan-Fried Tofu (optional, see below)
1 recipe Sweet-Hot Dressing (see below)
11 oz. uncooked rice vermicelli, cooked and lightly coated with vegetable oil
15 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, sliced and pan-fried with garlic, salt and pepper
2 cans baby clams, drained, rinsed and lightly sautéed with salt and pepper
2 heads Boston lettuce, outer leaves discarded, inner leaves pulled off
3 or 4 small tomatoes, cut into wedges
3 limes, cut into wedges
1 English cucumber, sliced or julienned
1 large carrot, coarsely grated
8 oz. bean sprouts
Small bowl fresh cilantro, chopped
Small bowl mint leaves
Small bowl Thai basil leaves (or regular basil)
Small bowl green onion, chopped

Spiced Pork Balls
2 slices white bread
3/4 cup cold milk
1-1/2 lb. ground pork
2 tbsp minced green onion
1 tbsp toasted dried onion flakes*
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp Vietnamese hot chilli sauce (optional)
1/4 tsp white or black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying

*Place onion flakes in dry, heated frying pan and shake gently back and forth until lightly toasted (about two minutes)

Pan-Fried Tofu
11 oz. brick firm or extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/8″ thick slices
3 tbsp mirin (Japanese cooking wine available in Japanese grocery stores)
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil

Sweet-Hot Dressing
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp finely chopped white onion
1 tsp grated carrot
1 tsp finely chopped green onion (white part only)
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
Juice of two limes
4 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp chili oil


Spiced Pork Balls

Step 1: In a shallow dish, soak bread in milk.

Step 2: Break up ground pork in a large bowl. Using hands, mix together wet bread and pork.

Step 3: Add the rest of the ingredients and work together until evenly blended. Shape into 1″ diameter meatballs.

Step 4: Pan-fry in batches, turning, until all are golden and cooked through.

Pan-Fried Tofu

Step 1: Lay tofu slices in a glass baking pan. In a measuring cup, mix together rest of ingredients and pour over tofu. Turn tofu to coat. Let stand 5 minutes.

Step 2: Fry tofu slices on medium heat in a dry frying pan. Fry until edges turn golden, turn and fry second side. Repeat until all slices have been cooked. Serve immediately.

Sweet-Hot Dressing

Step 1: Combine all ingredients in a jar. Shake to blend. Chill until serving or store in fridge up to a day.


Yvonne Duivenvoorden