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Asian Pork "Tacos"

The combination of crispy, cold lettuce leaves filled with spicy, salty, savory ground pork and crunchy veggies makes this meal one that you will return to again and again. I pulled it together in less than 20 minutes and we devoured them. David is already planning the next time we can have Asian "tacos" for dinner.
Course Main Course
Servings 2 generously and 3 normally
Author The Cowgirl Gourmet

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 shallot chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno minced (feel free to remove the seeds if you must; you will use the other half for the toppings)
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves chiffonaded, optional (I have a tree in the herb garden, though some lemongrass would be a nice alternative)
  • 1 pound ground pastured pork
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce

For the sauce:

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha plus more for serving, if desired
  • 1 tablespoon ┬ácoconut sugar or light brown sugar
  • 1/6 cabbage thinly sliced, or micro greens
  • 1/2 cup cucumber thinly sliced
  • 1/4 red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot washed and peeled and shredded
  • 1/2 jalapeno or banana pepper, thinly sliced
  • 3 green onions thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves chopped (preferably Thai basil)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro torn or chopped
  • 1/4 cup mint torn or chopped
  • 1/4 cup roasted and salted peanuts chopped
  • 1 large head Boston butter lettuce, washed, dried and leaves separated
  • 1 lime sliced into quarters, for serving

Instructions

  1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Once it's hot, add the garlic, shallot, jalapeno slices and kaffir or lemongrass and saute for 3 minutes until they become pungent and soften. Then add the ground pork and cook until it is done, about 5 minutes.
  2. While the pork is cooking, make the sauce. Get a small bowl and add the lime juice, fish sauce, sriracha and coconut sugar and whisk well so the sugar dissolves thoroughly. Set aside.
  3. Check on the pork and stir it a bit now. Continue to check on the pork as you slice the veggies, breaking up the meat and cooking it until it is no longer pink. When it is cooked, turn off the heat and taste, adjusting seasoning and adding salt and pepper.
  4. Slice the cabbage, cucumber, red onion and remaining half of jalapeno. As you slice the veggies, place them neatly in mounds on a large plate. Grate the carrot, if using. The carrot adds a great punch of color and texture to the dish. For the herbs, you can either tear or chop, and then mound them individually on the plate. Next chop the peanuts up a bit and place them in a small bowl.
  5. Put the washed and dried leaves of butter lettuce on another plate.
  6. When ready to serve, heat the meat thoroughly. Transfer the meat to a bowl--or serve it directly out of the skillet--and let the fun begin.
  7. Let each person take a lettuce cup, spoon in some meat and top it with veggies of choice and then lots of herbs and finally the chopped peanuts. Drizzle with a bit of the sauce and a squeeze of lime juice. Dive in. And repeat.

Recipe Notes

David loves to eat them with his hands as tacos, but I like to pile on the veg so mine requires a knife and fork. Either way is totally acceptable. And encouraged. This dish is our new favorite thing.