This easy appetizer is always a hit when I cook with my friends. Use the recipe as a guide and try substituting ground beef or minced shrimp in the filling. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

1/2 lb ground chicken or turkey thigh
1/2 lb ground pork
1 large head iceberg lettuce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup bamboo shoots, minced
1/3 cup water chestnuts, fresh, peeled and minced (or canned water chestnuts or jicama)
5 shiitake mushrooms, dried, reconstituted and minced


2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar 1 egg, beaten
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper


1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons warm water
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons green onions, minced
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
6 sprigs cilantro
Core the iceberg lettuce, leaving the head whole. Place in a large bowl of cold water and soak for 15 to 20 minutes to help separate the leaves. Use a plate to keep the lettuce submerged.
Heat a wok or large saute pan over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and saute the ground chicken and pork until opaque. Drain off any excess liquid. Stir in the ginger, garlic, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and minced mushrooms and continue saute until the ingredients are dry and heated through, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Combine all the ingredients for the seasoning in a small bowl. Pour the seasoning over the minced meat and vegetables and stir-fry until well combined and the mixture begins to hold together, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
To assemble, drain the lettuce and pat dry, carefully separate the lettuce leaves and use scissors to cut each leaf into palm-sized circles. Reserve the excess lettuce for another use. In a small bowl, combine the hoisin sauce, water and sesame oil until smooth.
Spoon 2 tablespoons of warm chicken mixture into each lettuce cup, garnish with a teaspoon of sauce, a pinch of green onions, several cilantro leaves and pine nuts. Serve immediately.

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