Asian Lettuce Cups

asian lettuce cups_3If you haven’t yet heard of the podcast Gastropod ,which “looks at food through the lens of science and history”, and you enjoy learning about various ingredients or how cuisines have shifted over time, then you must go download it today!

I was lucky enough to attend a taping earlier this week which also happened to be the first live podcast recording event EVER at the Boston Museum of Science.  The evening was filled with intriguing content, three impressive guests, and several delicious samples of cheese and chocolate!

They began by talking about many “fascinating and quirky details” about cheese while we watched that cheese’s bacteria under a microscope. It was wild to see the amount of movement!   Next Bren Smith of the Thimble Island Ocean Farm presented on the next era of food production – kelp farming! As I learned about this low-impact 3d ocean farming strategy I quickly bought into his belief that kelp is the new kale.

The final visitor blew me away. Sarah Lohman presented the history of Sriracha and the impact that it has on our culture today.  She explained details from David Tran’s journey from Vietnam to his simple 7 ingredient recipe including ripe red jalapeno peppers. Sarah described her Sriracha factory tour.  It is filled with equipment designed by Mr. Tran where he and his family still proudly create the American staple that covers 1/5 of the US hot sauce market. It is slightly sweet, is the perfect thickness, and the impressive bottle (also designed by Tran) is probably in everyone’s pantry – all without “a single penny spent on advertisement!”   Sarah was engaging and knowledgeable, and I can’t wait for her new book to come out so I can read and learn more from her impressive wealth of knowledge.

The episode ended with an investigation of how sound affects taste. Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley (the incredible hosts) led us through a chocolate tasting experiment that proved the theory.   I loved learning all of these new facts and am inspired to do more listening and learning from experts such as these.  

By the time I got home I was hungry! I had planned to make this recipe for dinner.  It was easy to make as I recounted all of these details to my husband, and the flavors in the final dish stood up to those I had tried earlier in the night.

asian lettuce cups_2

  • 3 Tablespoons of hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
  • 8 ounces of mushrooms – chopped small
  • 1/2 onion – chopped small
  • 1 8oz can of water chestnuts – drained and chopped small
  • 3 garlic gloves, minced
  • 1 inch piece of garlic – minced
  • 1/2 cup of sliced green onions
  • 2 small heads of Bibb lettuce
  • Red pepper flakes


Steps and Notes:

  1. Make the sauce by whisking the following with a fork
    • Hoisin sauce
    • Soy sauce
    • Rice wine vinegar
    • Sesame oil
  2. Heat oil in a skillet and add the ground chicken.  Cook until browned (about 7 minutes).
  3. Transfer the chicken to a bowl
  4. In the skillet, cook the mushrooms, and onions until tender. Add the water chestnuts, garlic, and ginger. Mix well and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add the chicken back into the skillet as well as half of the green onions
  6. Stir in the sauce and combine until well coated.  
    • The original recipe says you can add more hoisin sauce here if ou want a stronger flavor
  7. Pull the stem off the bottom of the lettuce and plate the lettuce cups, then fill each with the chicken mixture
    • I’d suggest using a slotted spoon as the mixture had lots of yummy sauce
    • Top with red pepper flakes, the remaining green onions, and of COURSE some Sriracha!


Thoughts for Next Time:

  • Enjoy the next day for lunch with quinoa (we did this – great choice!)
  • Add bell peppers, or carrots into the mixture
  • Try with tofu and sesame seeds
  • Serve in scoops tortillas as an appetizer

asian lettuce cups.PNG


One final note! I am adding this post to Fiesta Friday, and this is my first time linking up to this great group. This week is hosted by the great Laurena @ Life Diet Health and Kaila @ Gflife247. Excited to explore and see what other gems are posted!



  1. Wow the event sounds like it was great! Yep, I don’t know of anyone that doesn’t have a bottle of “Rooster Sauce” in their fridge! (OK my mom, she doesn’t care for too spicy.) Your lettuce wraps look fabulous, did you squirt any Sriracha on it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I DID!! How could I forget. Just updated to include that essential fact. The speaker made comparisons to the history/boom of ketchup in the American market due to the fact that it is slightly sweeter and more mild than other sauces. Aye, I could talk about this forever.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s awesome you got so much out of the speakers!


  2. Woohoo 🙂 Welcome to your first Fiesta Friday 🙂 Glad you managed to post in the end 🙂

    What an amazing event you attended… I’m going to check out Gastropod later thank you.

    These wraps look fun – love your vegan option of tofu and sesame… I think we’ll be trying these very soon! Have you this in scoop tortillas yet? I’m thinking still have some lettuce in there too?


  3. […] listen to the podcast Gastropod yet? If not, you should start! I watched them tape a live episode a while back and appreciate each of their researched, fact-filled episodes. It was through this podcast that I […]


  4. […] I’ve written about before, several times actually, I love podcasts! Recently a friend suggested I listen to ‘Happier” by Gretchen Rubin which is […]


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