Vietnamese lettuce cups

SERVES 4 PREP 10 mins COOK 15 mins Easy

This is great sharing food and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Guests assemble the cups themselves, so its fun as well as being delicious. It's hard to go wrong - I love heaps of mint, coriander and lime, but build the flavours to suit your taste. 


-     1 iceberg lettuce

-     150 g chicken mince

-     150 g pork mince

-     2 cm piece ginger, peeled and grated

-     1 garlic clove, grated

-     2 eschalots (French shallots), grated

-     60 ml (1/4 cup) fish sauce

-     2 tablespoons peanut oil, plus 1 extra teaspoon handful roasted, unsalted peanuts

-     100 g rice vermicelli noodles

-     2 large round rice paper wrappers (banh trang)

-     100 g enoki mushrooms, separated

-     180 g (2 cups) bean sprouts

-     1 small Lebanese cucumber, cut into batons

-     1 carrot, peeled and julienned handful Vietnamese mint or mint, torn handful coriander leaves, roughly chopped

-     3 long red chillies, thinly sliced

-     lime cheeks to serve


Peel individual leaves off the lettuce, trying not to tear them. Rinse them thoroughly to remove any grit.

In a large bowl combine the chicken mince, pork mince, ginger, garlic, eschalots and fish sauce. Season with salt and pepper then combine together thoroughly with clean hands.

Place a wok over the highest heat possible. When it is smoking add half the peanut oil. Add half of the mince mixture and stir-fry constantly until crumbly and golden brown.

Transfer the mixture to a sieve over a bowl and strain out any remaining liquid. Discard the liquid. Repeat the process with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and mince.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the peanuts to the wok and fry until lightly coloured, about 1-2 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. After 2 minutes, or when the noodles are tender, drain well.

In a frying pan over high heat, fry the dry rice paper wrappers in the extra teaspoon of oil, one at a time, until toasted, about 1-2 minutes. Once cooked, break them up into pieces to fit into the lettuce cups.On a platter, make a stack of your rice paper pieces, then a stack of lettuce cups, the individual salad items (mushrooms, bean sprouts, cucumber and carrot), a bowl of the mince mixture, the toasted peanuts, the mint and coriander, the chilli, the lime and the noodles. 

Recipe taken from Brent’s book, Dig In!