2012 for me so far is all about the health kick - after a bit of a health scare late last year, I'm trying to eat better, reduce the amount of crap things I put in my body and generally just be a better human (it's not just limited to cooking!)
So as a part of that I'm reducing the amount of carbs I eat - being an Italian boy carbs are in my genetics, I used to live and breathe pasta and c'mon who doesn't love an awesome pizza slice now and then? But it's time to kick them for a bit - so here's my take on a classic Asian dish, except I've replaced the delicious white spidery vermicelli noodles that's normally in them with sliced cucumber. Here's the recipe as originally tweeted.
- 1 x Iceberg lettuce
- 1 x 500g lean pork and veal mince
- 2 x tbsp olive oil
- 2 x stalks of celery diced
- 1 x carrot diced
- 1 x telegraph cucumber
- 1 x spanish (red) onion diced
- 1 x can of water chestnuts, drained and chopped finely
- 1 x tspn chopped chilli paste
- 2 x cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 x limes - 1 for juice, 1 for garnish
- 2 x light soy sauce
- 1/2 cup of chopped peanuts
Grab your iceberg lettuce, turn it upside down and press the stalk down firmly - then rip it out. If all goes well you should be left with just a bunch of lettuce leafs which will be your cups. You can also peel the lettuce leaves off individually. Wash them to remove dirt and bugs and set aside.
While the lettuce cups are drying, take your telegraph cucumber, peel it and julienne it thinly. I use a mandolin with a 3.5 mm julienne attachment to it - which makes the cucumber take on the texture and look of spaghetti almost. You can achieve the same with a bit of a patience and a sharp knife :)
The thinly sliced cucumber is a replacement for what is traditionally filled with vermicelli noodles.
It's pretty simple from here. Chop up all your veggies nice and finely. Put your olive oil in a heated fry pan, add the chilli paste. Stir fry the onion, celery and carrot together until golden. Put in a bowl and set aside. In the same pan stir fry your mince in batches until it browns. Add the vegetables back, add the water chestnuts and take off the heat.
In a bowl mix together minced garlic, soy sauce, juice of half a lime and then pop it back onto your mince and vegetable mix. (PS. For those who aren't a fan of sour and salt, add a teaspoon of raw sugar to the sauce) Stir fry until it's looking good - by the way, if you don't have time to make your own sauce, buy a San Choy Bow sauce from the shops, it's just as good - except I'm trying to do as much home made stuff as possible.
Now comes the assembly. Grab a washed lettuce leaf, add a generous pile of your cucumber 'noodles', a nice spoonful of your mince mixture, a squeeze of fresh lime and a sprinkle of the chopped peanuts. And there you have it - a fresh, carb free alternative to San Choy Bow. You're welcome.
Tweet me on @tweateryfood or email with how your recipe turned out - or leave a comment below.