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Pork in lettuce cups with watermelon and bean sprouts

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for pork in lettuce cups with watermelon and bean sprouts.

By Lisa Featherby
  • 40 mins preparation
  • 45 mins cooking plus soaking, cooling
  • Serves 6
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Pork in lettuce cups with watermelon and bean sprouts
These perfect little Asian-flavoured parcels are great to share with friends over a beer or two.


  • 1 iceberg lettuce, outer leaves discarded, inner leaves separated
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 6 golden shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried shrimp, soaked in cold water for 1 hour (see note), drained
  • 400 gm lean minced pork
  • 2 tbsp lime juice, or to taste, plus lime halves to serve
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce, or to taste
  • 15 gm (3cm piece) galangal, finely crushed in a mortar and pestle
  • 3 tsp crushed light palm sugar, or to taste
  • 2 tsp ground glutinous rice (see note)
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
Shallot and chilli dressing
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) vegetable oil
  • 4 golden shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 long red chillies, finely chopped
  • 10 gm dried chilli flakes, crushed
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp each fish sauce and lime juice, or to taste
Watermelon salad
  • 160 gm watermelon, cut into 1cm dice
  • 40 gm bean sprouts, trimmed
  • 2 tbsp shiso leaves (see note)
  • 2 tbsp Vietnamese mint


  • 1
    For shallot and chilli dressing, heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add shallot and stir until golden (15-20 minutes). Add fresh and dried chilli and garlic, and stir until garlic is tender and dried chilli is fragrant (2 minutes). Add fish sauce and lime juice to taste, stir to combine and set aside to cool.
  • 2
    Trim lettuce leaves into cups and set aside in a bowl of iced water to crisp (20 minutes). Meanwhile, heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat, add shallot, garlic and dried shrimp and cook until tender and caramelised (3-5 minutes). Add pork and cook until starting to turn golden (8-12 minutes). Add lime juice, fish sauce, galangal, palm sugar, ground rice, and ground chilli and stir until thickened (2-3 minutes), adjust seasoning and set aside. Keep warm.
  • 3
    For watermelon salad, combine ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
  • 4
    Arrange drained lettuce cups on a plate, fill with pork mixture then watermelon salad, and serve with shallot and chilli dressing and lime halves.


Dried shrimp, ground glutinous rice and shiso leaves are available from Asian grocers.
This recipe is from the February 2013 issue of