PUBLISHED: 11:13 AM on Wednesday, March 2, 2005
Spicy Lemongrass American Lamb with Peanuts in Lettuce Cups
Preparation Time: 25 minutes • Cook Time: 5 minutes

3 Tbsp. fish sauce, divided

3 Tbsp. lime juice, divided

2 tsp. finely chopped garlic cloves, divided

1 tsp. cornstarch

2/3 pound American lamb shoulder, trimmed and finely chopped

2 Tbsp. light brown sugar

1 tsp. chopped Thai bird chilies or crushed red pepper flakes

2 Tbsp. peanut oil

2 shallots, thinly sliced

1 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves

2/3 cup j?cama, peeled and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces, squeezed dry

1/4 red onion, finely chopped

8 sprigs cilantro, finely chopped

2 stalks lemongrass (white part only), sliced and then chopped

1 Tbsp. finely chopped galangal (Thai ginger) or ginger root

1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts, divided

2 to 3 heads iceberg lettuce inner leaves, each trimmed to about 4" wide

In medium bowl, combine 1 tablespoon each fish sauce and lime juice, 1 teaspoon garlic and cornstarch. Add lamb and blend well, set aside. In small bowl, combine remaining 2 tablespoons each fish sauce and lime juice, 1 teaspoon garlic, brown sugar and chilies. Stir well, set aside. In medium pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add shallots and cook 10 seconds. Add lamb, stir and cook until no longer pink (about 5 minutes). Mix in sauce. Just before serving, toss lamb with mint, j?cama, red onion, cilantro, lemongrass, ginger and 1/4 cup peanuts. Invite guests to put 2 or 3 tablespoons lamb mixture on each lettuce leaf. Top with remaining peanuts, roll and enjoy.

Makes 16 appetizer servings.

Nutrition per serving: 100 calories, 5g protein, 6g carbohydrates, 7g total fat (60% calories from fat), 14mg cholesterol, 1g fiber, 307mg sodium, 1.18mg niacin, 0.07mg vitamin B-6, 0.41mcg vitamin B-12, 1mg iron, 1mg zinc.