Spicy mince & lettuce cups

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 15 mins Ready in 25 minutes


Serves 4
A Thai inspired-dish which is quick, simple, cheap and low fat – yet still feels special and is full of flavour. A great pre-dinner nibble

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Easily doubled

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal253
  • fat6g
  • saturates1g
  • carbs23g
  • sugars22g
  • fibre0g
  • protein29g
  • salt1.73g
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  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil

    A variety of oils can be used for baking. Sunflower is the one we use most often at Good Food as…

  • large piece fresh root ginger, peeled and grated



    Mainly grown in Jamaica, Africa, India, China and Australia, ginger is the root of the plant. It…

  • 2 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 500g minced chicken, turkey or pork
  • 85g light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
    Fish sauce

    Fish sauce

    A seasoning often used in Vietnamese and Thai cooking. In Vietnam it is usually made from shrimp…

  • juice 1 lime



    The same shape, but smaller than…

  • 2 lime leaf, finely shredded
    Lime leaf

    Lime leaf

    ly-m leef

    Lime leaves are obtained from the kaffir lime, which is not a true lime at all but rather a…

To serve

  • mix of iceberg lettuce, Little Gem and cos leaves
  • large handful mint and coriander leaves, very roughly chopped
  • handful toasted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced into rings



    Related to the onion (as opposed to being a younger version of it), shallots grow in clusters at…

  • 1 lime, cut into wedges



    The same shape, but smaller than…


  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Fry the ginger, garlic and chillies for 1 min. Add the mince, then cook on a high heat until golden brown, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as you go. Sprinkle over the brown sugar, fish sauce, lime juice and shredded lime leaves, then cook everything down until sticky.

  2. Tip the mince into a serving bowl, then serve with a bowl of lettuce leaves for wrapping the mince in; the herbs, shallots and peanuts for scattering over; and the lime wedges for squeezing.

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Comments (18)

1bigcheese's picture

I loved this recipe! Couple of changes...I only added a heaped teaspoon of brown sugar as 85g seemed a lot, and found it to be plenty, didn't have any lime leaves but I don't feel it lacked any flavour, served mine in corn tortillas and grilled for a few minutes served with a fresh salad, full of flavour :)

Hutch41's picture

Beware...this recipe calls for 85g light brown sugar....I was doubtful and only added 45g and even then it was cloyingly, inedibly sweet !

This is an error....probably should be 8.5 g

£15 worth of lovely ingredients down the waste disposal !

davect's picture

I opened the bottle of fish sauce and was doubtful. Even more so when it hit the pan. I had to turn on the cooker hood. I was very doubtful until I tasted the finished dish. This was amazingly delicious. Definitely making this again.

valjohn's picture

My friend made this as a starter and it was absolutely fantastic. Really fresh and zingy. And it is really great making your own food - a very nice start to a meal

fenellabramwell's picture

This is a delicious recipe. I used spring onions instead of shallotts. you do need to buy a large lettuce if you really want to be able to 'wrap' the mince up. I used a variety of sizes as suggested, and some of the little ones were just too small to wrap the mince up in. It is extremely easy too! Love it.

cmare123's picture

This is delicious, I doubled the recipe for a very satisfying main, used less sugar, more chilli and added a raw grated carrot for "garnish", tastiest meal ever!

foodie64mum's picture

Very yummy, popular and easy. I used turkey mince and served it as a starter in baby gem lettuce leaves (2 each). This quantity serves 8 as a starter. Great recipe - I wouldn't change a thing!

flightlessfairy's picture

We were concerned about the flavours being overpowering so halved everything but the meat. Should have trusted the recipe as it was nice but would have been lovely with more oompf. Fabulous recipe served in iceberg leaves...perfect :)

nicolaberkin's picture

Although the fish sauce makes this smell like feet when cooking, which was slightly offputting the first time i made it, the flavour is amazing! A firm favourite for me and OH!!!

kuifke's picture

You can use this recipe to make tortillas or fajitas. Slice the iceberg lettuce and use some sour cream as topping

pewter's picture

Did as a mid week main.Did not use the peanuts - turkey mince which we love.It was easy quick & delicious.My guy even ate the lettuce (Romano) !

globaholic's picture

This is delicious! I did it as a standing starter round our kitchen island. Everybody absolutely loved it. I used turkey mince. Have done it again since as a main course, with some green beans and noodles instead of the lettuce.

ctiger's picture

very simalar to sang choy bow was enjoyable made enough to feed me and my two daughters for dinner i used the pork mince will eat again :)

alisoncoffey's picture

I made this for a dinner party and it was a stunning starter. It looked and tasted very impressive. I cut back on the chilli by half and it still had a kick.

azlinms's picture

I've tried many variations of this wrap but never come across one that completely satisfied. This might not have been 100% perfect (too sweet for my taste and requires more of a kick. Then again, I am Asian!!), but it came close!! This is not Chinese so much as it is Thai - the taste comes closest to replicating the traditional Meng Khum (or Miang Khum). The peanuts and the limes are a must-have with this dish. Will make again!

drfabio's picture

I made this for dinner tonight, and it was absolutely delicious! I agree that it was really easy - the only mildly faffy part was preparing everything. I couldn't get lime leaves, so I used curry leaves as the Glossary on here suggested, and I didn't bother with the mint, but I didn't feel like anything was missing at all. I can't wait to have people round, so I can make this and show off!

grannytracey's picture

remember ... you can keep "kaffir lime leaves" in a plastic ziplock bag in the freezer !

elle01527's picture

I made this as a starter to a recent bbq. It went down really well - everyone loved it. I made it with lamb instead of the suggested minces and doubled the quantity. The freshness of the lettuce leaves really complimented the meat. Definately making again - so easy!!

Questions (2)

beeman68's picture

Wouldn't mind trying this for a low carb diet, does it really need that much sugar? Without the sugar it would be great on the carb count!

goodfoodteam's picture

Thanks for getting in touch. The sugar in this recipe combines with the lime juice and fish sauce  to create a sticky caramel-like glaze, which is common in Thai and Vietnamese style cookery. This recipe for Bang bang chicken cups is similar but contains less sugar http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/bang-bang-chicken-cups or this one using ginger beef http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/ginger-beef-lettuce-wraps could be a good alternative too. Let us know how you get on. 

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