Easy Thai Ground Beef Lettuce Wraps


We have visited the fair country of Thailand ( called the country of Smiles) – wonderful people, gorgeous scenery and amazing food. This is an easy throw together dish – Thai cooking uses salty/sweet flavors – and when traveling there, I always asked every head chef at the amazing hotels at which we stayed, ‘what was your favorite dish and the one that YOUR mother made for you on your birthday?’. This was one of them although I am using readily available ingredients in the USA as substitutes.


  • Canola Cooking spray
  • 1 cup leek, both white and green, sliced very thin
  • 2 cloves of peeled finely chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (I splurge and use filet mignon but its not necessary; sirloin will do)
  • 2 teaspoons of red curry paste (such as Thai Kitchen)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce ( I make my own since we have so many home grown tomatoes – but pureeing whole canned tomatoes in puree works too)
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk ( or the heavy kind if you cant find the light)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime rind
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 3 cups hot cooked short-grain rice
  • Iceberg lettuce wedges (optional)
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Chopped green onions and Chopped red peppers – for color


  1. Put on your rice to cook ( in a rice cooker is the easiest – follow directions for the cooker – but its normally adding a couple of cups of water to the cooker with the one or more cups of raw jasmine rice, a bit of salt and plug it in!)
  2. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. This can also be done in a wok.
  3. Coat pan/wok with canola cooking spray.
  4. Add the sliced leeks and fry for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the finely chopped garlic and fry for about a 1 minute.
  6. Add the ground beef and cook for about 6 minutes until lightly browned, breaking up the pieces until the meat becomes crumbly.
  7. Stir in the curry paste and tomato sauce and cook until half of liquid evaporates (about 3 minutes).
  8. Add the coconut milk , sugar, lime rind and juice and the Asian Fish Sauce and cook for a few minutes or until the mixture starts to thicken.
  9. Place Iceberg lettuce leaves to simulate cups on a serving plate.
  10. Make sure everyone is seated at the table ( or the meat and rice will cool in the lettuce and also make the lettuce wilt)
  11. Place a bed of rice inside the lettuce cup and the meat mixture on top. Don’t overfill the lettuce cup.
  12. Sprinkle the chopped red peppers (just a few), chopped green onions and chopped cilantro on each lettuce cup and SERVE IMMEDIATELY!


About Grandma

I have reinvented myself many times during my life -teacher, lawyer, business woman, CEO, Entrepreneur, Board member, Professor, Mom, Wife, Farmer, Chef, Musician, Author and now my best role of all – Grandma to multiple grandchildren, grandnephews and nieces worldwide.

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One Response to Easy Thai Ground Beef Lettuce Wraps

  1. Fantastic recipe, i will try it with my lady tonight. Hope i get it right! Cheers

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