Hello, my name is Mike, and I have a gochujang problem.1
In the past year, I have used this Korean chili paste on shrimp, pork tenderloin, chicken wings, and even a whole ham. But that’s not enough gochujang for me. I’m sneaking it into one of my go-to weeknight meals, turkey lettuce wraps.
This is an American home cook’s mashup of Korean food. It is far from authentic…especially the turkey. But, it gets the flavors of Korea on the dinner table fast, and satisfies my gochujang cravings.2
The best part? I can sneak a few extra vegetables past the kids – and lettuce is right there in the name. When I say “lettuce wraps for dinner”, and they get excited? I don’t know how to deal with it.
Drizzling in the sauce
One thing to note – this is a spicy dish. (Especially if you drizzle it with even more gochujang, like my daughter.) If you can’t take the heat, make Chinese style lettuce wraps instead.
1 romaine heart (or a head of bibb lettuce) separated into leaves
Extra slivered scallions
Gochujang sauce for drizzling
Prep everything before starting to cook: Break the ground turkey into large chunks, and put in a medium sized bowl. Whisk the marinade ingredients in a small bowl or measuring cup until the gochujang and sugar dissolve, then pour over the turkey. Let the turkey marinate while preparing the other ingredients. Whisk the sauce ingredients together until the gochujang and sugar dissolve. Mince the garlic, ginger, and scallion, and set aside. Separate the romaine lettuce leaves, rinse clean, and dry in a salad spinner.
Preheat wok or pan: Put 1 tablespoon of peanut oil in a 12? to 14? fry pan or wok and heat over medium-high heat until just showing wisps of smoke.
Stir fry the turkey: Put the garlic, ginger, and scallion in the oil in the pan, and let fry for a second, then immediately add the turkey into the pan. Stir-fry, breaking up the turkey as it cooks, until it has just lost its pink color, about 3 minutes. Drizzle the sauce over the turkey, stirring as you go, and cook and stir until the turkey is coated with sauce and looks glossy, about another minute. Transfer to a bowl. Pass the lettuce, turkey, and other accompaniments at the table, letting everyone make their own wraps by filling a lettuce leaf with a little rice and turkey.
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