During the end of July in Vancouver, it felt like March 🙁 It was pretty chilly out, dark, and drizzly… I mean seriously, I feel like I ask this every summer, but where is summer?!?!? We DID however get about 3 glorious weeks of sunshine and warmth during which time 95% of Vancouver’s population headed down to the beach to soak up the rays of sunshine like basking seals. While it was all hot and stuff, I dealt with the rare weather by making summer dinners. Beef and shitake lettuce wraps were one of the meals I made. Light, healthy, cheap, and refreshing. Also, I have heard rumors of Peking duck meat being served similarly. Apparently, after eating the crispy skin with crepes, the next course is the meat and lettuce wraps, and the third course is soup from the duck bones. Now, I’ve had Peking duck many times (not enough times), but I have never been served the lettuce wrap course!!! Maybe this has to do with the fact that I’ve mostly eaten Peking duck in Mauritian restaurants. Over there, they slice up the duck in front of you in such a way that you get both skin and a generous amount of meat in each slice. I have many childhood memories of eating/fighting for Peking duck with all my little cousins. It’s always been a favourite dish of mine, and would probably be a strong contender for what I’d choose as my last meal/favourite food/thing you’d eat forever if you could only eat one thing. Looks like I’m going to have to venture down to Richmond to find this elusive Peking duck lettuce wrap course!
ANYWAY, I’m getting seriously off track here! Since I won’t be making Peking duck in my kitchen anytime soon, this beef and shitake mushroom wrap is satisfactory as a delicious and quick alternative. You will need to first brown about 1lb of ground beef. When that’s done, add some garlic and ginger, and when they’ve cooked for a bit, add the caps of some shitake mushrooms, green onions, and chili. Next add a sauce to the beef mixture: 1 Tb hoisin, 1 Tb soy sauce, 2 Tb oyster sauce, 2 tsop sugar, t tsp cornstarch, 1 Tb rice wine vinegar and 2tsp sesame oil.
Basically, you’re adding every Asian condiment you have stashed in your pantry. If you don’t have this stuff, it’s maybe time for a trip to T&T! I seriously love that place. I always buy pea shoots and ginger honey tea from there. You can also add some glass noodles if you like. I added some cooked vermicelli noodles, and they were good as well, although next time, I might just omit noodles altogether, since they weren’t totally necessary. They seemed to be more like filler.
When your beef filling is done, serve it with lettuce leaves (I used iceberg lettuce) and some hoisin sauce and chili sauce on the side. I suggest doubling up on the lettuce leaves when you wrap, because mine tore, and I got the steaming hot beef filling all over my hands. I really enjoyed the fact that this dinner was super quick, and that I only dirtied one pan! I only managed to eat two wraps before I got full, but it was sooo yummy, and I had to regretfully eye the leftovers, wishing they’d fit in my stomach.