We really love these lettuce wraps, but the original recipe that I followed calls for a half cup of brown sugar per one pound of ground beef. That is a bit more sugar than I’d really like to ingest! Last night when I made these again I decided to try cutting the amount of sugar significantly. It worked pretty well; I think next time I will maybe add a tablespoon of hoisin sauce to give a little extra depth to the flavor. Before the sugar-sweetness was predominant but without as much brown sugar, the flavors are almost overly mild (keep in mind that we like fairly spicy, well-seasoned foods). You can add a small can of drained and chopped water chestnuts at the end, if you like them.
Lower Sugar Korean Style Lettuce Wraps
- 1/4 cup. brown sugar
- 6T soy sauce (I used reduced sodium)
- 1.5T roasted sesame oil
- 2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1T vegetable oil
- 1lb ground beef/turkey/chicken
- 8 oz chopped white or crimini mushrooms
- 3 scallions, chopped, with some green bits reserved
- 8 leaves of romaine, washed and trimmed as necessary (you can use other lettuce as long as it has a sturdy leaf)
- This is a recipe that comes together very quickly once you start cooking, so it makes sense to prepare everything ahead of time. Have minced garlic ready in a small dish, ground meat unwrapped and ready to slide into pan, and mushrooms and scallions chopped and set aside.
- Prepare sauce in a small bowl or measuring cup. Combine brown sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce, red pepper flakes and ginger; whisk until fairly smooth. Set aside to allow flavors to meld while you prepare meat.
- Heat oil and garlic over low heat until just fragrant. Add ground meat and cook until no pink remains. I like to use this tool to make sure my ground meat is in fairly small pieces. This is not a great recipe for large chunks of meat.
- When meat is cooked through, add the mushrooms and saute a few more minutes, until the mushrooms are shiny and very soft.
- Stir in prepared sauce and cook 2-4 minutes, until all meat is coated and looks slightly shiny. The sauce will reduce somewhat, but it never gets too thick since there is significantly less sugar in this version.
- Stir in most of chopped scallions and remove to a serving dish. Scatter reserved green onion slices over top. You can serve lime wedges alongside as well.
- Serve with romaine lettuce and make sriracha or other hot sauce available! We also eat it over rice sometimes and that is very good, too. Serves 4 generously.
NOTES: You can probably use ground pork to good effect in this recipe as well. Or boneless, skinless chicken breast that has been chopped up fairly small but not actually minced. I use refrigerated grated ginger that I buy in the produce section of the grocery store. It is so much more convenient to me than dealing with little knobs of ginger. And guarantees that I pretty much always have fresh ginger available.