Vietnamese Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with Cucumber Slaw and Peanuts
Ah, lettuce wraps—the crunchy little handheld "tacos" that we can't resist customizing for every cuisine. Here, tender little gem leaves are filled with sticky rice, seared shrimp, and a juicy lime-dressed slaw of cucumber, carrots, and red cabbage. It's all drizzled with sticky-sweet soy and brown sugar, then garnished with cilantro and peanuts.
Total cook time
- 1 cup sticky rice
- 1 English cucumber
- 2 tablespoons peanuts
- 1/2 ounce cilantro
- 1 lime
- 1/4 ounce ginger
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3/4 cup shredded red cabbage
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 1/4 pounds shrimp
- 2/3 cup gluten-free soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 heads little gem lettuces
- canola oil
- kosher salt
- black pepper
In a small pot, combine rice, 1.5 cups water, and .25 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir once, reduce heat to low, then cover pot and cook until water is fully absorbed, 12 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let stand, still covered, for 10 minutes.
While rice cooks, rinse all produce. Halve cucumber lengthwise, then cut crosswise on a diagonal into .25-inch pieces (see recipe tip). Roughly chop peanuts. Pick cilantro leaves; finely chop stems. Halve lime. Trim and discard skin of ginger and mince. Mince garlic. In a large bowl, combine slaw mix, cucumber, juice of 1 lime, and .25 teaspoon salt, and toss to coat. Set aside until ready to serve.
Pat shrimp dry with paper towel and season with .5 teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until opaque and just pink, 4-6 minutes total. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to a plate and set aside. Wipe pan clean for the next step.
Return pan from shrimp to medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon canola oil. When oil is shimmering, add ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add soy sauce, brown sugar, and crushed red pepper (skip or use half for less heat) and whisk to combine. Cook, whisking constantly, until sugar is dissolved and liquid has reduced by half, 2-3 minutes more. Remove pan from heat and set aside to cool.
Pat lettuce dry with paper towel, and separate whole leaves for wraps (you'll need at least 3 per person, but if you have extra, double up your wraps). Fluff sticky rice with a fork and stir in cilantro stems to combine, then spoon into lettuce leaves, gently pressing to fill each wrap.
Transfer lettuce wraps to serving plates. Top rice with cucumber slaw, then cooked shrimp. Garnish with peanuts and cilantro leaves. Drizzle over soy glaze (see recipe tip). Enjoy!
All recipe ingredients should be cooked to a safe internal temperature according to USDA guidelines. After preparing a recipe, please store any leftovers in the refrigerator.