Fragrant Spicy Veggies with Lettuce Wrap

The holidays are coming.  I'm sure many of us have already started our holiday menu planning.  This dish is great as a starter.  It actually came to mind because I got some lettuce that I was desperate to get rid of.  Plus I didn't want to eat a salad that is made with lettuce for the next three days.  And I certainly don't want to put any of my food to waste.  

So I remember this delicious Thai dish that I used to love -- minced spicy pork with lettuce wrap.  I recall all those lettuce greens served on the side.  So this is a veggie version of that.  :) And this dish is another perfect leftovers recipe.  I think most meat eaters would love it too because the taste is just phenomenal plus it looks presentable. ;)  I highly recommend you to try making it.  

Happy Holidays! 


Cindy x

Fragrant Spicy Veggies with Lettuce Wrap


Servings: 2-4 persons

Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes


1 eggplant, diced

1 zucchini, diced

1 cup corn

1 capsicum, diced

1 bunch string beans, chopped into small bits

2 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 red chilli, finely chopped

1 bunch spring onion, finely chopped

1 tbsp minced ginger

1 tsp brown sugar

2 tbsp sesame oil

1-2 tbsp fish sauce* (optional) 

1 lime zest & 1/2 lime juice

1 tsp sesame seeds

2 tbsp thai basil pesto

1 bunch fresh lettuce leafs 

extra-virgin olive oil

Dipping Sauce Ingredients: 

1 tbsp brown sugar

2-3 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp fish sauce* (optional) 

2 tbsp sesame oil 

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 fresh lime juice 

1/2 chopped chilli

2 tbsp chopped spring onion or coriander 

Thai Basil Pesto Ingredients: 

1 bunch thai basil

1/2 green chilli and 1/2 red chilli 

1 garlic clove

extra-virgin olive oil


1) Preheat a frying pan with olive oil on medium heat, cook eggplant for 3-5 minutes first.  Then add the chopped vegetables such as corn, beans, capsicums, and zucchini.  Cook for another 3 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium low.  Add a splash of fish sauce, sesame oil, and brown sugar.  

2) Add the chopped garlic, spring onion, ginger, and chilli.  Cook 3-5 minutes.  Add basil pesto and fresh lime juice and zest.  Season.  Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes more to allow all the flavors to come out.  Heat off.  Set aside. 

3) Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top and garnish with some coriander if you like. I didn't have any so I skipped that. 

4) Serve this fragrant spicy veggies with some fresh lettuce leafs and the sweet and spicy dipping on the side.  Enjoy!

Fragrant Spicy Veggies with Lettuce Wrap

Fragrant Spicy Veggies with Lettuce Wrap

Fragrant Spicy Veggies with Lettuce Wrap

a perfect light meal for the gals....

I bought some real fresh Chinese spinach yesterday and because of this steaming heat outside, I honestly don't feel like having anything too heavy.  If Marco was here, I would throw in a piece of grilled fish and maybe a couple of onigiri(rice ball) with mentaiko(marinated roe) to fill him up.  Since it was just for myself, I'll stick with my favorite summer veggies. :)  I think these ingredients are definitely accessible anywhere and they shouldn't cost you a fortune.  The cooking time is really just cooking the soba and spinach which only takes about 5 minutes.  The rest are just chopping and marinating.  So cooling and so healthy!  

I love the variety of dishes that Asian meals offer.  It makes me feel like I am having a feast even if I am eating alone.  :) 

cucumber n carrot salad

3 baby cucumbers, shaved and discard the middle seeds part

1 small carrot, shaved

1 tsp sesame seeds

2-3 tbsp rice vinegar

a pinch brown sugar

Instructions: Mix well in a bowl and refrigerate for about 15-30 minutes before serving.  Remove excess water (before serving) if you want.  

sesame spinach salad 

1lb spinach

2 tbsp sesame oil

1-2 tbsp sesame seeds

1 tbsp brown sugar

2-3 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp mirin


1) Cook the spinach in a pot of boiling water for less than 30 seconds.  

2) Drain the spinach and run it in cold water; dry with a kitchen towel to absorb all the liquid.

3) Chop the spinach and transfer to a small bowl. 

4) Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  

5) Refrigerate for at least 10-15 minutes before serving.  

cold soba and sauce

100g soba, cooked according to the package label

1 tbsp chopped spring onion

1 tsp grated ginger

1/2 tsp wasabi

1/4 (3 tbsp) small bowl soy sauce

1/4 (3 tbsp) small bowl mirin

1 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp brown sugar

1/2 small bowl water


1) Run cold water to the cooked soba, drain well.  Transfer a serving dish. 

2) Get a small bowl, add mirin, soy sauce, rice vinegar, water and a little bit of grated ginger and ginger juice.

3) Get a small soy sauce dish, place wasabi, grated ginger, and chopped spring onion as a side dish for the cold soba.*

* People normally pair cold soba with a quail egg but I don't have any plus I'm not a huge fan of quail egg so that's all I'm serving here.