stir fried pork in lettuce cups


Up until a few years ago, my views on pork were similar to the wise Jules Winfield (not safe for work!) – I didn’t really dig on swine. But as my tastes have expanded and I’ve become more interested in cooking foods from Asia and Mexico, I’ve found myself buying pork more and more often. And I like it! I’m not always on board with its natural sweetness, but I appreciate that it’s inexpensive, pretty healthy, and easy to find.


This dish features a small amount of pork tenderloin cut up into little bits and sauteed with vegetables and sweet hoisin sauce. You serve them in Bibb or Iceberg lettuce leaves like tacos, the crisp greenery contrasting with the sweet/salty pork. The recipe that I used involved a small potato (which is apparently sort of traditional?) to add some textural variety. I like it, but Sarah didn’t — you can leave it out if you’d like.


Stir Fried Pork in Lettuce Cups

Adapted from Serious Eats. Serves 4.


  • vegetable or peanut oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, diced in 1/8 inch bits (for easier slicing, freeze the pork for an hour first) OR 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 small red potato, diced (optional)
  • 1 8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and diced
  • 1 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • soy sauce to taste (you may not need any, depending on how salty the hoisin sauce is)
  • 1 head Iceberg lettuce or 2 small heads Bibb lettuce, separated into leaves
  • Sriracha or other chili sauce, for serving


In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are well softened, about 5-6 minutes. Add the pork and continue to cook until the meat is browned and cooked through. Transfer the contents of the pan to a bowl.

Place the pan back on the heat and add another tablespoon of oil. Add the potato and red pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are browned and almost cooked through. Add the water chestnuts, hoisin sauce, and the onion/pork mixture back to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are crisp-tender and everything is well-glazed. Add the rice wine vinegar and taste for seasoning (it may require a bit of salt or soy sauce).

To serve, place a few tablespoons of the pork in a lettuce leaf and eat like a taco.


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