Pork and lettuce wraps

Pork and lettuce wraps

Leanne Kitchen

This is one of those easy dishes, designed for informal, help-yourself dining. What this Cambodian-inspired dish lacks in prettiness, it more than compensates for in flavour. You can use pork neck instead of belly, if you prefer – cook very gently for 3½ hours.


Quantity Ingredient
1 piece pork belly, excess fat trimmed, (about 1 kg)
2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 lemongrass stem, bruised and tied in a knot
175g dried thin rice noodles
1 large butter lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried
1 carrot, peeled and shredded into fine ribbons or cut into matchsticks
1 jicama, peeled and shredded into fine ribbons or cut into matchsticks
2 lebanese cucumbers, shredded into fine ribbons or cut into matchsticks
200g mung bean sprouts
large handful coriander sprigs
large handful mint leaves
large handful thai basil leaves
2 large fresh red chillies, thinly sliced

Pineapple peanut sauce

Quantity Ingredient
2 1/2 teaspoons tamarind pulp
60ml water, boiling
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 lemongrass stem, chopped, white part only
2 large red asian shallots, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
450g fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, trimmed and finely chopped
1 tablespoon shaved palm sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon fish sauce
80g roasted unsalted peanuts


  1. Put the pork belly in a saucepan over medium–low heat with the fish sauce, lemongrass and enough cold water to cover. Bring the liquid slowly to just below a gentle simmer and cook over very low heat for about 2 1⁄2 hours or until the pork is tender and cooked through. Cool the meat in the liquid until either warm or room temperature.
  2. Meanwhile, for the pineapple peanut sauce, combine the tamarind pulp with the boiling water in a bowl and stand for 20 minutes. Strain the mixture through a sieve, using your fingers to press down on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids.
  3. Combine the garlic, lemongrass and shallots in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Alternatively, use a mortar and pestle.
  4. In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the garlic mixture in the oil, stirring often, for 3 minutes or until fragrant and it no longer smells raw. Add the pineapple, 170 ml water, the tamarind liquid, sugar, lime juice and fish sauce. Bring to a simmer, stirring until the palm sugar has dissolved. Cover and cook over low heat for 5–6 minutes or until the pineapple has softened.
  5. Finely chop the peanuts in a food processor and add them to the sauce, stirring to combine well. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1–2 minutes, adding a little more lime juice or fish sauce to taste, and a little more water if the sauce is too thick (it will thicken on standing). Transfer to a serving bowl.
  6. Soak and cook the rice noodles according to the packet instructions, then drain well and place in a serving bowl. Very finely slice the pork and place in another bowl. Place the lettuce leaves, vegetables, sprouts, herbs and chillies on a large platter. Serve immediately with the pineapple peanut sauce.
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