Spicy mince & lettuce cups

Spicy mince & lettuce cups

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(30 ratings)

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


  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil is made from pressing sunflower seeds and extracting the oil. It's usually…

  • 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 cloves, crushed
  • 2 red chillies, 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 leaves, 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.

You may also like

Comments, questions and tips

Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
Ali123456's picture
3rd Aug, 2018
Made it twice. Preferred it with a heaped spoon of sugar only. Did not have lime leafs or peanuts, but was very good anyway. Agree with one comment it smells bad when cooking/reheating. But tastes really really good. Going to cook it once a while. Easy, quick. Used pork.
7th May, 2016
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 :)
8th Aug, 2014
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
30th Jul, 2013
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.
1st Jul, 2013
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
30th May, 2013
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.
5th Apr, 2013
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!
23rd May, 2012
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
14th Apr, 2012
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 :)
11th Jun, 2011
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!!!


2nd Jun, 2015
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
10th Nov, 2015
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. 
Shimoldeam's picture
26th Apr, 2020
Great recipe, one to keep. We added a birds eye chilli, 3 whole spring onions and only used a tablespoon of sugar which was plenty. Served with spicy wedges. Definitely recommend.
Want to receive regular food and recipe web notifications from us?