The Chinese New Year begins Thursday (February 3). How about celebrating with an easy, flavorful Chinese dish? These lettuce wraps, which use ground turkey flavored with Chinese-style spices, is probably more "American Chinese restaurant" than an actual authentic dish that would be eaten in China. But they're still delicious-sounding, easy to make, and healthy.
This would make a fun Chinese New Year meal to share with kids, too. They'd love making their own lettuce wraps, and finger foods are always a hit. And if you're pressed for time, they can be made ahead and even served cold -- no reheating needed.
Five-Spice Turkey and Lettuce Wraps (adapted from Eating Well magazine)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup instant brown rice (I'd use a bag of frozen, microwavable brown rice and serve the remainder on the side instead)
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 pound 93%-lean ground turkey
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 large red bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts, rinsed and chopped
- 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce (near the soy sauce in the Asian food aisle ... make a mixture of half hoisin and half soy sauce as a dipping sauce for the wraps)
- 1 teaspoon five-spice powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 heads Boston lettuce, leaves separated
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as cilantro, basil, mint, and/or chives (if you can't find these or don't want to spend the cash on fresh herbs out of season, I don't think the dish, with plenty of other flavorful ingredients, would suffer if you left them out)
- 1 large carrot, shredded
Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add rice. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat (skip this step if you're using frozen microwavable rice).
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add turkey and ginger; cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon, until the turkey is cooked through, about 6 minutes. Stir in the cooked rice, bell pepper, water chestnuts, broth, hoisin sauce, five-spice powder, and salt; cook until heated through, about 1 minute.
To serve, spoon portions of the turkey mixture into lettuce leaves, top with herbs and carrot, and roll into wraps.