Korean Portobello and Eggplant Lettuce Wraps

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I love all kinds of tacos, so when I heard of Korean tacos, I was intrigued.  They’re typically made with grilled, marinated steak and served on tortillas with crisp vegetables, guacamole, salsa, and other taco fixings. I made some last fall, grilling marinated portobello mushrooms and eggplant and wrapping them up Tex-Mex style. 

The grilled vegetables were amazing, but unfortunately the dish overall was too close to my portobello fajitas, which we have all the time. I started looking for other ways to serve the vegetables. I kept seeing Bulgolgi, as Korean marinated steak is known, served in lettuce wraps. I grilled the vegetables again, including a sweet onion too, and this time wrapped them up Korean-style, with lettuce, jasmine rice, and herbs. Jackpot!

The marinade is a classic Bulgolgi marinade. The herbs I had handy were chives, mint, basil, and cilantro. I also added radish and cucumber slices. The cucumbers served with lettuce wraps are usually lightly pickled, but we had ours plain, since we like them best that way. 

Korean Portobello and Eggplant Lettuce Wraps 

1 cup jasmine rice

3 large portobello mushrooms, about 3/4 pound
1 smallish globe eggplant, about 3/4 pound
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1/4 cup chopped green onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon ground black or white pepper
1 medium  sweet onion, optional 

To serve: 
Red curly lettuce leaves
Cucumber slices
Sriracha
Soy sauce
Fresh herbs such as mint, basil, cilantro, and chives (or green onion)

Cook rice according to package directions. Or, bring rice and 1-1/2 cups water to a low boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes until water is absorbed. Uncover, fluff up rice with a fork, and let stand a few minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl. You can serve the rice at room temperature or zap in the microwave for 30 seconds before serving.

Cut mushrooms and eggplant in strips about 1/2 inch thick and 1 inch wide, any length you like. Transfer to to a non-metal container or zippered plastic bag. In a small bowl, mix together the sesame seeds, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, green onion, minced garlic, and pepper. Pour over the vegetables and toss. Slice the onion into half-moons and separate the rings. Add the onion to the other vegetables.  Set aside to marinate while you prepare the coals.

When your coals are medium-hot, drain the vegetables. Grill on a grill pan until eggplant and mushrooms are tender (the onions might still be a bit crunchy).

Serve grilled vegetables, lettuce, rice, and condiments separately so each diner can assemble their own wraps.

Serves 3.

 

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10 Responses

  1. Brilliant idea. A must try.

  2. It’s funny you posted this, I was just researching Korean bbq like…10 minutes ago, ha ha. It’s going to work its way into my classroom’s final event! I definitely like the idea of lettuce cups, this looks super good.

    • It’s bbq season in Texas! Lettuce cups are fun because there are so many ways to personalize them.

  3. This looks delicious. I have also been enjoying lettuce wraps lately. They are so fun. :)

  4. Yum! I love your blog (but you know this)! :-)

  5. Thanks, Mylène!

  6. You know, Korean tacos are one of those things that I have always wanted to try, but haven’t yet. I think I’m holding out for a food truck to roll into town or something ;). These lettuce wraps sound amazing, though…I love the fresh herbs with the veggies and sauce. Yum!

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