RECIPE #416, DAY #581
ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Vietnamese Pork Wraps,” from Alison Lewis’s 400 Best Sandwich Recipes*
TIMING: 15 minutes
TOOLS: A skillet and a small whisk
COOK TYPE: Stovetop
HEALTH: Pork is the other white meat. Paired with fresh mint and some raw veggies, you are going to be all right. Even better? Use a whole wheat wrap and you’ll be the “health nut” for at least one work lunch.
EXPERIENCE: When I realized that this recipe made meatballs for a wrap, I hesitated. I mean, what would happen to my meatballs when I picked up my wrap and took a bite? I imagined them rolling right out the end.
So, true to other Vietnamese recipes I knew of, I broke up the ground pork instead. In the end, the little pork nublets were about as likely–or maybe even more–to roll out the end. then again, a few nublets to eat up with fork at the end? Not as bad as the ol’ “I Lost My Poor Meatball” scenario. The real problem with this wrap was the delicious juices making the wrap soggy. Almost immediately.
Perhaps a few large leaves of lettuce lining the inside? It would be worth the try.
NOTES: You could make these in to meatballs again, just add 1/4 cup panko, roll them up, and fry them in a skillet with 3 tablespoons peanut oil.
You can add less or more chili sauce and/or chili flakes to taste. It’s spicy.
If you want to take this in your lunch box, just don’t apply the dressing until you are ready to eat. And pack several napkins.
- In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon peanut oil, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and 1 tablespoon Vietnamese chili garlic sauce (likely with the rooster on it). Set aside.
- In a skillet, brown 1 pound ground pork with 2 cloves pressed garlic, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. When cooked through, taste for seasoning and remove from heat.
- Lay out 4 tortillas or lavash. Line each down the middle with large, soft lettuce leaves (like romaine or butter). Divide the pork among the wraps, then divide up and top with 1 cup shredded napa cabbage, 1 peeled and thinly sliced cucumber, and 1/2 cup julienned mint. Top with a hefty drizzling of the sauce, roll up, and eat right away.
Serve with an Asian inspired salad, maybe with noodles and peanuts, as well as a nice sparkly fruit drink.
LEFTOVER IDEAS: Store the meat, veggies, and sauce each separately. Warm up the meat–or even just get to room temperature–and compose everything as directed above. To be different, you could toss all the components (minus the wrap and lettuce) with some rice noodles or serve over Jasmine rice.
*Recipe changed from the original.