Pilar Valdes' Kate Winslettuce Cups
- 1 tbsp Jasmine Rice
- 1/2 lb ground pork
- 1 tsp neutral Oil (like vegetable or avocado oil)
- Kosher Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
- 2/3 tbsp Fish sauce, divided
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed Lime Juice, plus more for serving
- 1 1/2 tbsp minced shallots
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro, stems and leaves, plus more for garnish
- 20 large mint leaves, roughly torn, plus more for garnish
- 1 scallion, chopped (about 2 tablespoons), plus more for garnish
- 1/4 tsp honey
- 1/4 tsp chili flakes
- 12 Bibb Lettuce Leaves, rinsed and dried
- 1/8 tsp minced bird's eye chili (optional)
- In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, add the rice. Toast, stirring frequently, until the rice is golden and releases a popcorn-like aroma, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a mortar and pestle, or spice grinder, and grind until very fine. Set aside.
- Season the pork with freshly ground pepper and 1/4 tablespoon of the fish sauce.
- Return the sauté pan to medium heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat. Add the pork, and cook, breaking up the meat with your spatula. Continue to sauté until fully cooked through and no longer pink. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
- In a medium bowl, combine the remaining fish sauce, lime juice, shallots, all the herbs, honey, chili flakes and chili. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked pork into the mixture, and toss until well combined. (The cooked pork releases a lot of moisture after cooking, and you don’t want it to dilute the sauce!) Add 1 tablespoon of toasted rice powder (save the rest for garnish.) Check for seasoning. It should be bright, fresh and savory, and a little tart.
- To assemble: divide the pork larb among the lettuce cups. Serve with lime wedges, additional herbs and chilis on the side. SERVE CHILLED OR AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
These little parcels are a real treat— and are miniature versions of a Thai Pork Larb. You get the crunch from the lettuce, a ton of freshness from the herbs—all tossed with a delicious sauce The recipe is flexible, and you can substitute ground chicken, or even ground turkey. If you want to keep things vegan, feel free to swap the por out for some diced mushrooms or even cauliflower (and sub the fish sauce with coconut aminos.) Yum! You can make these ahead, fully assembled, or even leave all components out for your guests on a large platter, and make it a little interactive station where they get to assemble their own cups.