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Wednesday 13 May 2015

Pork, jicama and veggies lettuce leaf wrap recipe - can be made with chicken, beef, tofu...

Its spring! And with the weather (finally?) warm enough to put our flowers, herbs and veggie plants out without fear of a freak snowstorm (then again this is Alberta and we have super fickle weather), it also means its usually getting a bit warm to want to cook in the kitchen. So here's a quick and refreshing recipe that's perfect for when its warm out!Jicama, also known as a Mexican yam/turnip can be found at most Asian or Carribean grocery stores. Its getting so popular that I actually found it at a regular grocery store! The outside waxy and thick fibrous skin is inedible and needs to be peeled off (I hacked it off with a sharp knife as my potato peeler wasn't cutting it (literally!).  Inside is a white, slightly sweet interior. Jicama usually is eaten raw or can be sautéed - regardless if you cook it or not, it retains a crisp refreshing texture similar to biting into a juicy unripened pear and a good source of potassium and vitamin C.  This recipe I was inspired to make after noshing on some lettuce wraps at Congee Queen in Toronto.

In Chinese recipes, diced pork is usually used, but you can easily sub out the meat with chicken, beef, or even tofu!  As jicama is a tuber, it has carbs so these lettuce wraps can be made as an appetizer or a super lazy meal heehee! :D

Pork jicama lettuce wraps - makes about 4-6 appetizers or 2-3 lazy meals
-3/4 pound diced lean pork, chicken, beef or firm tofu
-1 teaspoon light soy sauce
-1 teaspoon white wine (or water or chicken stock if you're making this gluten free)
-1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
-2 teaspoons oil divided

Veggies (feel free to change it up and use whatever is in season - corn, peas…
-1 medium sized jicama - about the size of a soft ball
-3 stalks of celery diced
-2 carrots diced
-1 medium onion diced
-1/2 red. yellow or green sweet bell pepper diced
-1/2 head of lettuce washed

Fresh herbs and seasonings (take your pick!)
-green onions
-2 cloves of garlic minced
-1-2 slices of fresh dinner root finely minced
-1 small chill pepper finely sliced or 1/4-1/2 teaspoon dried chill flakes
-hoisin sauce

How to
1) In a small bowl combine lean pork (or other diced protein) with the loysauce, white wine, cornstarch and 1 teaspoon of oil. Let it sit and marinate to come up to room temperature while you prep the veggies.
2)  Peel/slice off thick inedible skin of jicama and discard. Dice the interior white crisp jicama and set aside. Wash, dice and prep the remaining veggies
3) On medium high heat in a non-stick wok or deep frying pan, heat up 1/2 teaspoon of oil and sauté the pork for about 3 minutes stirring every now and then, until there's a nice sear, pork is cooked through and is no longer pink. Set aside.
4) Into the pan, add in remaining 1/2 teaspoon of oil, add in garlic, ginger and chills if using for about 1 minute or until fragrant.
4) Add in the onions, celery and carrots, cook for 2-3 min until soften. Add in sweet peppers, jicama and cooked pork. Mix well and serve immediately with lettuce and hoisin sauce.

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