Adri Likes… Thai Crumbled Beef in Lettuce Wraps

DSC04959The third easy dish I made for my dinner with friends was Nigella Lawson’s Thai Crumbled Beef in Lettuce Wraps.  I first came across this dish when I bought Nigella’s Forever Summer cookbook in 2003.  I have made many wonderful dishes from that cookbook, and this one remains one of my favorites.


  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 red chillies (birds eye) finely chopped
  • 375 grams (0.83 lbs) ground beef
  • 1 tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 4 spring onions (dark green bits removed, finely chopped)
  • 1 lime (zest and juice)
  • 4 tbsp coriander/cilantro (chopped)
  • 2 iceberg lettuce

Serves 6



  1. Put the oil in a non-stick frying pan on medium heat and when warm add the finely chopped chillies and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally.  Keep an eye on them so that they don’t burn.
  2. Add the beef, turn up the heat and, breaking it up with a wooden spoon or fork, cook for 3 or 4 minutes until no trace of pink remains.
  3. Add the fish sauce and, still stirring, cook until the liquid’s evaporated.
  4. Off the heat, stir in the spring onions, zest and juice of the lime and most of the coriander.
  5. Turn into a bowl, and sprinkle over the remaining coriander just before serving.
  6. Arrange the iceberg lettuce leaves on another plate – they should sit one on top of another easily enough.  let people indulge in a little DIY at the table, filling cold crisp leaves with spoonfuls of sharp, spicy, hot, crumbled meat.


I found all of the ingredients at the Publix on Miami Beach (5th street location), with the exception of the red chillies.  Those I found at the Whole Foods on Miami Beach, only they didn’t have any more red chillies, only green and orange (almost red), so I got those instead.  Regarding the Thai fish sauce, in the past I have not used it, opting instead for extra lime or even a splash of tabasco, but this time I used it and my guests liked it!  It didn’t taste “fishy” at all.

For the lettuce, Nigella is more eloquent than I am in explaining the procedure, so I’ll let her do it:

You may need to be rather brutal with the lettuce as you tear the leaves off to provide the edible wrappers for the beef, which is why I specify one to two icebergs.  If you want to perk the leaves up a little, making sure they curve into appropriate respositories for later, leave them in a sinkful of very cold water while you cook the minced beef, then make sure you drain them well before piling them up on their plate.

This is a dish that is great as an appetizer or a main dish.  It is so easy to make, on the healthy side and great tasting.  As Nigella says, “…let people indulge in a little DIY at the table, filling cold crisp leaves with spoonfuls of sharp, spicy, hot, crumbled meat.”


One thought on “Adri Likes… Thai Crumbled Beef in Lettuce Wraps

  1. Pingback: Adri Likes… Easy Dinner Parties! | Adri Likes

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