Chili Beef Lettuce Wraps


The other day I came across Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course on Amazon Prime. I happen to be a huge fan of his, so of course I watched.

I’ve already frantically written down two recipes from just the first episode, this being one of the two – Asian-inspired crispy beef and pork, served in lettuce leaves with a fabulous sweet and spicy dipping sauce.

Not surprisingly, all of his recipes on this show were lovely; there are 100 in all – “recipes to stake your life on.” A huge promise, but of course, he’s Chef Ramsay. According to Gordon, “I’m going to teach you amazing food you can cook standing on your head.”

The cookery series consists of ten episodes, originally aired in 2012. “Each episode concentrates on a different theme essential for the modern cook and is packed with useful tips and tricks to save time and money.”

And what’s truly amazing to me, is that Chef Ramsay can talk, non-stop, in his wonderful culinary prose, describing everything he’s doing, and the flavors and smells, all whilst cooking. As my family can attest, I cannot cook and talk. So that impresses me! And, he may not be everybody’s favorite chef, but darn, his passion shows!

Note: In the U.S., where I live, chile peppers cover the whole gamut of smoked, dried, and fresh peppers. They are spelled chile peppers, not chili peppers. Chili is an American meat dish.

However, in other countries like England, chile peppers are spelled chili peppers, and sometimes chilli peppers, or chilis or chillies. Until you know this, you may be confused!

So I’m honoring Chef Ramsay’s recipe name of Chili Beef Lettuce Wraps, named for the little red chile peppers he uses in the recipe!

Chili Beef Lettuce Wraps with Dipping Sauce
Printable recipe below

Olive oil, for frying
200g lean minced beef
200g minced pork
Toasted sesame oil, for frying
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
5cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1–2 red chillies, deseeded and chopped
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
Zest of 1 lime, juice of 1/3 lime
3 spring onions, trimmed and chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 little gem lettuces, separated into leaves, to serve

Heat a large frying pan and add a little oil. Mix the minced beef and pork together. Season with salt and pepper and mix well to ensure the seasoning is evenly distributed. Fry the mince in the hot pan for 5–7 minutes until crisp and brown and broken down to a fine consistency. Drain the crisped mince in a sieve – this will help it stay crispy. Set aside.

Wipe out the pan and add a tablespoon of toasted sesame oil. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli. Fry with a pinch of salt and the sugar for 2 minutes. Add the drained mince and stir to mix. Add the fish sauce and heat through. Stir in the lime zest and juice, then add the spring onions, stirring for 30 seconds. Turn off the heat.

Mix all the dressing ingredients together and adjust to taste.

To serve, spoon some of the mince mixture into the lettuce leaves, drizzle with a little dressing and serve.

Or, if you couldn’t find Little Gem lettuce and had to substitute butter lettuce, and it doesn’t work well for roll-ups, gently slice the lettuce, place on a platter, and cover with the beef mixture

I poured the remaining sauce over the top, and it was wonderful as a salad of sorts!

Sweet and Spicy Dipping Sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1-2 chillies, thinly sliced
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Chopped cilantro

Mix all of the ingredients together well. Pour into a small bowl and serve with the lettuce wraps.



44 thoughts on “Chili Beef Lettuce Wraps

  1. Haha – I can’t cook and talk at the same time either! I’d end up with a mess for dinner if I did that. Speaking of dinner, these wraps sound fantastic! I do love seasoned ground beef – it’s so versatile. And that chile vs. chili thing is mighty confusing. Same with biscuits and cookies!

    • I don’t cook with ground meats enough – they’re so easy! And like you said… versatile. Mario Batali always impressed me with the way he could teach while cooking, in a much more restrained way than Ramsay, of course! In the US, it’s chile peppers, and chili is the dish. Easy. I remember reading Mark Miller’s chile pepper book to figure it all out!

    • It is a wonderful sauce. I wish I’d had more of the little chile peppers from my garden! My grocery store pretty much only sells jalapenos, Anaheims, and poblanos.

      • Peppers – all kinds were a favorite in a previous garden. There are so many different varieties one can grow – I had a lot of fun with them. I don’t know why stores don’t have more choices…

  2. I have the recipe book from The Ultimate Cookery Course and it is well used. His recipe for pork belly is amazing, and the one we make over and over again. In fact, we are doing it on Sunday. I hope you enjoy the rest of his shows. I met him a few years ago which was quite something.

  3. I’ve piped in before on what I think the difference is between chile and chili is (hint: plurality). So I’ll just keep my mouth closed on the subject (all the better to chew these beef lettuce wraps). GREG

  4. I love all lettuce wraps! They’re just so fresh and light yet wholly satisfying. I typically make mine with tempeh and/or mushrooms, but this made me realize that I do have a pound of Impossible meat in the freezer, and I bet it would be great with these seasonings, too.

    • Double the sauce if you make these. Ramsay wants the meat dry, not greasy, which is great, but it needed more sauce.

  5. The dipping sauce is so appealing! I’m glad to see your response that it should be doubled. I’m also interested in this show and will check it out. Funny thing is that I order lettuce wraps when we are out, but I never make them at home. I will definitely make these!

  6. I’ve never made lettuce wraps before but I think the combination of the crunchy lettuce with the spicy meat would be divine! I suppose I could also use some diced jalapeno peppers instead of the little red peppers.

    • If I don’t have any fresh chile peppers on hand, I just use Tabasco sauce to taste. Like in my fresh salsa. Chopping has become quite hard on my hands, so especially now I don’t mind good alternatives!

  7. Hi there Mimi, boy your lettuce wraps remind me of our favorite appy we use to get at PF Changs. No PF Changs over this way so I’m sure glad you posted this. As for the little red chili, over this way a red chili that’s often used in cooking is called a bird’s eye chili. But, they’re on the hot side.

    • I think bird’s eye are what I planted. But I also think Ramsay didn’t really use them for the heat in this case, mostly for color and presentation. Which is why I grow them! I hope all is well.

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