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ASIA WEEK: FLAVORFUL ASIAN LETTUCE WRAPS

This week, we'll offer a few exotic and not-too-hard-to-prepare Asian recipes.

INGREDIENTS

1 lb. lean ground pork

3 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced jalapeno

3 tablespoons peeled and minced ginger

1/4 cup shallots, minced

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons pepper

2 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons fish sauce

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

1 cup chopped cilantro

2 heads lettuce, washed, dried and separated into leaves

Cayenne pepper

Sugar

Roasted nuts, chopped

DIRECTIONS

Saute pork in oil. Add garlic, jalapeno, ginger and shallots and continue to cook.

Add salt, pepper, sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce and cilantro. Mix well.

Spoon small amounts of cooked mixture into individual lettuce leaves.

Serve with Vietnamese Must-Have Table Sauce (see recipe below) and bowls of cayenne pepper, sugar and nuts to taste.

VIETNAMESE MUST-HAVE TABLE SAUCE (NUOC CHAM)

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce

1/4 cup water

2 teaspoons rice or cider vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1 small clove garlic, minced

1 bird chili or jalapeno, minced

Several shreds of carrot (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Combine ingredients in a bowl; stir to dissolve the sugar. Serve in one or more condiment bowls. Store in a tightly sealed glass container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Makes more than 3/4 cup sauce.

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