If marinated and placed into a lettuce leaf cup, the lettuce and shrimp plus other garnishes become a vibrantly flavored (and colored) hand-held salad.
A little sweet, lots of savory, with a good dose of bright freshness, spice from the chili flakes and sweet chilli sauce, and cool crispness from the crunchy and buttery lettuce.
YES, those are cooked shrimp you see.
NO, you do not want to buy cooked shrimp for this recipe. I mean, you can, I suppose, but the flavor will be better if you marinate raw shrimp instead of cooked. Plus, if you decide to cook already cooked shrimp you'll more than likely end up with a texture you weren't expecting.
(If you're ready to shoot, but happen to be missing some key elements, a grocery store run is in order. But sometimes communication between two people during grocery runs yields unintended results. Really, it's ok though.)
Serve assembly line-style, already put together, or pack into small individual jars and refrigerate to take later for picnic salads.
Shrimp Lettuce Wraps
2 lb (900 g) medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
large thumb sized piece of ginger, finely grated
1 stalk lemongrass, bruised and crushed with the back of a knife, and sliced
1/2 t (1 g) chile flakes
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 T (30 ml) soy or tamari sauce
1 T (17 g) packed brown sugar
1 t (5 g) kosher salt
1/4 c (60 ml) lime juice
zest of 1 lime
1/4 c (60 ml) olive oil
1 large carrot
4 medium radishes
3 large green onions
lettuce (Bibb is my preference here)
fresh cilantro leaves
fresh basil leaves
sweet chilli sauce, to serve
If the shrimp still have the tails attached, remove and discard. Slice each shrimp into three bite-sized pieces and set aside. Mix marinade ingredients together in a large bowl: ginger, lemongrass, chile flakes, garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, salt, lime juice and zest, and olive oil. Add the pieces of shrimp and carefully fold together to coat in the marinade.
Cover and let marinate at least 3 hours and up to overnight in the refrigerator.
Before you are ready to cook the shrimp, grate the carrot and radish, and slice the green onions. Place in a medium bowl and set aside.
Remove shrimp pieces from marinade and saute in a pan until cooked through along with 2 T (30 ml) of the liquid marinade.
Cool to room temperature and add to the bowl with the vegetables, mixing carefully but thoroughly. Add a bit of the cooked marinade from the pan if desired for a little extra flavor.
(At this point you could refrigerate the shrimp and vegetable filling until ready to use, up to a day ahead.)
Spoon into lettuce leaves, garnish with cilantro and basil leaves as desired.
Serve with sweet chilli sauce.