Inspired by Vietnamese Lemongrass Pork Bahn Mi Sandwiches, these Pork Bahn Mi Lettuce Wraps feature a lemongrass pork filling topped with creamy mayonnaise, pickled carrots and daikon, then topped with cilantro and fresh chili.
If you love Bahn Mi sandwiches, these Lemongrass Pork Bahn Mi Lettuce Wraps will be your new favorite appetizer. Savory and sweet ground pork filling is topped with a light drizzle of creamy mayonnaise, zesty pickled carrots and daikon radish, cilantro, and fresh red chili or jalapeno. All wrapped in a crisp lettuce leaf.
Lemongrass is a crucial ingredient in this dish as it lends such a wonderful flavor and aroma to the ground pork filling. Simple, but outrageous flavor. Even though this is an Asian-inspired appetizer, it pairs well with just about any type of meal.
Making the pickled carrot and daikon is a snap with a julienne tool like the Swissmar Peeler Julienne Blade. Even strips every single time. For this recipe, I like the strips to be about an inch and a half long. (Tip: You can also use this julienne peeler to make long strips for vegetable “noodles”).
Place 1 cup of julienned carrots (about 1 large carrot or two small carrots) and 1 cup of julienned daikon radish in a jar. Pour 1 cup of vinegar, 3/4 cup of water, and 1/4 cup of sugar into the jar. Cover the jar tightly with the lid, then gently shake to mix all the ingredients. Allow to brine for at least 1 hour. This will keep in your fridge for up to 1 month so you can make this pickle well ahead of time.
To maximize the flavor of lemongrass, it is finely minced so that you get a little bit of lemongrass flavor in each bite. Thinly slice the white portion of 3 lemongrass stalks, then finely mince the slices. You can either discard the green portion of the lemongrass stalks, or save it to make lemongrass tea.
Heat 2 tablespoons of peanut oil in a wok over medium high heat. Add 1 small diced onion and saute until slightly translucent. Add the minced lemongrass and 2 cloves of garlic (minced). When the garlic starts to turn slightly brown, remove the mixture from the wok and set aside.
Add 1 pound of ground pork to the wok, and stir-fry until no longer pink. Return the onion and garlic mixture to the wok, then stir to combine all ingredients. When the ground pork has cooked all the way through, stir in the sauce. Mix well.
Transfer to a serving dish.
Now the fun part! Putting it all together…
Place some of the pork filling in a lettuce leaf. You can use any type of lettuce but I recommend romaine lettuce or butterhead lettuce. The amount of filling you use will depend on the size of the lettuce leaves.
Next, lightly drizzle some mayonnaise on top of the pork filling. I use Kewpie Japanese mayonnaise because the flavor is fantastic and blends well with the rest of the ingredients in this recipe. As a bonus, it comes in a very handy squeeze bottle. It dispenses the mayonnaise very smoothly and evenly. It’s almost like it was made for this!
Place a few strands of the picked carrot and daikon on top of the mayonnaise, followed by a cilantro leaf, then a sliced fresh red chili or jalapeno pepper.
The best and most fun way to serve this dish is to serve the fixings in separate bowls and have your guests assemble their own lettuce wraps.
Lemongrass Pork Bahn Mi Lettuce Wraps
For the pickled carrot and daikon radish
- 1 cup julienned carrots
- 1 cup julienned daikon radish
- 1 cup vinegar
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar
For the Lemongrass Pork
For the lettuce wraps
- 1 head romaine or butterhead lettuce leaves separated
- Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise
- Cilantro leaves
- 1 fresh red chili or jalapeno pepper
Put all of the pickle ingredients into a jar, put the lid on tightly, then shake the jar gently to combine the ingredients.
Allow to brine in the fridge for at least an hour (or up to 1 month).
Prepare the sauce for the pork filling by combining the soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar and dark soy sauce.
Heat the peanut oil in a wok over medium high heat.
Saute the diced onion until it turns a little translucent. Add the minced garlic and lemongrass. When the garlic starts to turn brown, remove this mixture from the wok and set aside.
Add the ground pork to the wok and stir-fry until no longer pink. Return the onion and garlic mixture to the wok.
When ground pork has cooked all the way through, stir in the sauce and mix well until the ground pork is thoroughly coated in the sauce. Transfer to a serving dish.
To assemble the lettuce wraps, place some of the ground pork filling on to a lettuce leaf. Drizzle a light layer of mayonnaise over the ground pork.
Top with pickled carrot and daikon, cilantro leaves, and a sliced red chili or jalapeno pepper.
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