Last Updated on August 22, 2023 by Carne Diem
Origin: Asian, Korean
Method: StovetopJump to Recipe
These Korean lettuce wraps with ground beef, lamb, kimchi, and gochujang aioli are a one-way trip to flavor town. This Asian lettuce wrap recipe is super easy to make and is perfect for an Asian inspired appetizer or a quick and easy meal. Better yet, the Korean lettuce boats can be cooked in under 30 minutes, making it perfect for a flavorful weekday meal.
Making the Korean Style Lettuce Wraps
To make the lamb and ground beef lettuce wraps you will need to make the filling, and make a simple gochujang aioli.
Prepare the Gochujang Aioli
The sauce for these lettuce wraps is a simple combination for garlic aioli and Korean Gochujang. We prefer to make the garlic aioli from scratch, but you can use store bought as well. If you can't find garlic aioli or, don't want to make it from scratch, you can replace the fresh made aioli with mayo and a little garlic, but it will not be nearly as good, and your regrets will keep you up at night.
To make the sauce for the lettuce wraps, just combine ½ cup of aioli and 1 tablespoon of gochujang sauce and mix until smooth and combined. You can make this a day or so ahead of time and the finished aioli will keep for a couple weeks in the refrigerator.
What is gochujang?
Gochujang is a spicy Korean condiment that is made from Gochu-garu red chili peppers, fermented soybeans, glutinous rice, and salt. Gochujang has a great depth of flavor with subtle sweetness and earthiness. Spice levels of the condiment can vary from brand to brand. This red pepper sauce is becoming increasingly more available in the Asian aisle of most supermarkets. If you can't find it at your local store you can also order it from Amazon.
Gather and prep you ingredients
Now it is time to gather your ingredients and let's get cooking! Dice the yellow onion and cut the green onion on the bias.
Sauté the veggies
Heat fire oil over medium heat, then sauté the yellow onions and 2 tablespoons of green onion until they are just beginning to get soft. Fire oil or chili oil can be purchased here if you can't find it locally, or you can substitute some canola oil and about ¼ teaspoon of chili flakes. Depending on the heat of your pan, this typically takes about 2 or 3 minutes. If you don't have fire or chili oil you can use regular cooking oil with about ¼ tea of crushed red pepper, or leave the pepper out if you want less heat.
Cook the meat for the Korean Style Lettuce Wraps
Next up is the meat. You now have a decision to make. We have found that a mixture of ½ beef and ½ lamb works wonderfully for this dish, but you can adjust the ratio to your preference, and we have made this as an all ground beef lettuce wrap when we did not have any ground lamb on hand, and it still turned out pretty tasty.
Add in beef and lamb, and a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Brown the meat for about 5 minutes and then drain the fat out, if you prefer, though we typically leave it in.
Season the meat
Next, add the sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, the remaining 2 teaspoons of gochujang, and carrots and stir to combine. Cook for about 1 minute until everything is well combined and the sugar is fully melted into the mixture.
Finally, add and stir in the kimchi and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
Remove the pan from the heat, or you can leave the heat on low to keep the lettuce wrap mixture warm.
Serving the Korean Style Lettuce Wraps
Divide the meat between the lettuce boats and drizzle with the gochujang aioli, then top with the green onion. Enjoy while warm.
If you are looking for more Asian inspired recipes, be sure to try for of our other favorites from Korean and across Asia.
- Korean BBQ at Home: Grilled Bulgogi
- Korean Corn Dogs: Gamja Dog
- Barbeque Char Siu
- Flat Top Chicken Fried Rice
- Grilled Tiger Cry Beef
- Chinese Ants Climbing a Tree: Ma Yi Shang Shu
- Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup with Smoked Beef
- Asian Beef Short Rib Nachos
What is the best lettuce for Asian lettuce wraps?
Romaine lettuce, baby bok choy, and even napa cabbage all work great for Asian lettuce wraps. Use smaller leaves for lettuce wrap appetizers, or you can use larger varieties if you are having the lettuce wraps as a meal. Rinse the lettuce leaves well and fill with your filling.
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Korean Style Lettuce Wraps with Gochujang
- 1 Head of Romaine or 2 Baby Bok Choy
- ½ Pound Ground Beef
- ½ Pound Ground Lamb
- ½ Yellow Onion diced
- 3 Green Onion Sliced on the bias. Divided
- ¼ Cup Aioli
- 1 Tablespoon Gochujang plus 2 tea
- 1 Tablespoon Hot Pepper Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
- 2 Tablespoon Dark Soy Sauce
- 1 teaspoon Dark Brown Sugar
- 1 Cup Carrot shredded
- ½ Cup Kimchi coarsely chopped
- Combine aioli and 1 tablespoon of gochujang sauce and stir until smooth and combined.
- Heat hot pepper oil over medium heat, add the yellow onions and 2 tablespoons of green onions and saute until just soft (2-3 minutes).
- Add in beef and lamb and and a pinch of salt and pepper to taste, brown the meat (about 5 minutes). If desired, drain the fat.
- Add the sesame oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, and carrots and cook for about 1 minute.
- Stir in the kimchi and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
- Remove the pan from the heat
- Divide the meat between the lettuce boats and drizzle with the gochujang aioli, then top with the remaining green onion.