I know some of you saw “bahn mi” in the title of this post and were like, “thanks, but hard pass, that sounds like it will require a trip to a specialty grocery store and I am just a regular, hungry human who has time for only one grocery store and binge watching Wet Hot American Summer.”
Either that, or you refuse to visit specialty grocery stores on principal because your older sister scarred you over a decade ago. For example, when we were in high school, I dragged my little sister to an asian grocery store to get stuff to roll our own sushi. She had to pee, and I refused to take her home because I was, I don’t know, comparing nori brands or something. And let’s just say that her bathroom experience at the store was both (1) too disgusting to be discussed in detail on a food blog and (2) so scarring that she still refuses to visit specialty grocery stores. I do not blame her, and I continue to take full blame for refusing to take her home to pee, and this recipe is for her and everyone else who has bore that particular cross.
Sidenote: I have not actually seen Wet Hot American Summer but I am familiar with the premise and would like to see it. I am really bad at watching TV by myself (see, e.g., Orange Is The New Black, of which I watched 3.4 episodes 2 years ago and yet still consider it “my show”) but I am usually at least medium at putting down my Instagram and not falling asleep when the BF and I watch a show together (see, e.g., Show Me A Hero, which is almost all I have thought about for the last week).
Anyway, the other thing I have been thinking about is these delicious bahn mi lettuce wraps. They are crunchy and fresh and easy and — wait for it — will not require a trip to a specialty grocery store. That’s right — you just need lettuce, cucumber, carrots, jalapenos, cilantro, rice, mayonnaise and pork. You will also need either sriracha or thai sweet chili sauce, but they have both at the Key Food down your block, don’t worry. You can make everything way in advance, and just keep a fridge full of these ingredients to roll up delicious lettuce wraps all week long. Or, you can do like I did, and make lettuce wraps the first night and then shred the leftover lettuce and make bahn mi salads for lunch.
And if you don’t feel like making a whole pot of pork (in a slow cooker! so your kitchen doesn’t get too hot!) you can make idiot-proof chicken breasts and slice those, or use some rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, or just go for a meatless lettuce wrap. Whatever floats your boat.
The point is, no one need suffer the trauma of a specialty store (or its restroom) for you to enjoy these spicy, crunchy, delicious wraps while you watch Wet Hot American Summer.
Flashback! One year ago on Leighto-Greato: Bacon Wrapped Chicken Wings
- 1 onion, diced
- 6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 t. kosher salt
- 1 t. fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 t. red pepper flakes
- 1 t. smoked paprika
- 1 t. ground cumin
- 1 t. garlic salt
- 4 lbs. pork shoulder
- 4 c. chicken stock
- 14.5 oz. canned crushed tomatoes
- 4 carrots
- ¼ c. rice wine vinegar
- ½ c. water
- ¼ c. sugar
- 1 t. red pepper flakes
- 1 t. kosher salt
- ¼ c. light mayonnaise
- 2 T. thai sweet chili sauce (or sriracha, in a pinch)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 heart of romaine, washed and separated
- 2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped into sticks
- 2 cups of cooked white rice
- Cilantro leaves
- 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
- Sriracha to taste
- Put the onion and garlic in a slow cooker.
- Combine the salt, pepper, red pepper, paprika, cumin, and garlic salt in a small bowl. Rub the mixture on the pork shoulder, and place over the onions and garlic.
- Pour the chicken stock and tomatoes over the pork.
- Cook on low for 6 hours, until the pork is pull-apart tender.
- Remove the pork from the sauce and shred with 2 forks. Set aside the liquids as a base for soup.
- Shred the carrots with a vegetable peeler.
- Put the carrot shreds in a small bowl, and cover with rice wine vinegar and water. Stir in sugar, red pepper and salt.
- Set aside for at least 20 minutes, or up to a couple of days to allow the carrots to pickle.
- Stir together the mayonnaise and thai sweet chili sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Start with a romaine leaf. Spread a spoonful of sauce on the leaf. Add a spoonful of rice, a few sticks of cucumber, a forkful of picked carrot shreds, a pinch of cilantro leaves, a few jalapeno slices (if you can handle them), and pulled pork. Add sriracha to taste.