"Lettuce" help cook dinner with spicy Asian-style wraps

Are you stuck in a cooking rut? Do you find yourself cooking the same meals week-in and week-out? If this sounds familiar then you need a culinary vacation! "Lettuce" take you on a tastebud trip to Asia with oriental-inspired wraps.

In an attempt to revive your weekly meal plan, I'll give you some tips on how to plant lettuce and use it as an alternative to pita pockets for a spicy Asian-style dish.

So let's get started. Grab some of Awapuni Nurseries' Traditional Value Buttercrunch or Great Lakes lettuce seedlings when you're at your local supermarket, Warehouse or Bunnings store. Remember to buy a variety of lettuce that has large leaves because mesclun doesn't work too well as a wrap!

When planting lettuce it must be positioned in a sunny area that is sheltered from strong winds. If it has been a wet spring where you are, add a bit of lime to your soil. Lettuce thrives in soil with a moderate pH and large amounts of rain can lower your soil's acidity level.

Dig a hole three centimetres deep and place the lettuce seedlings inside, roughly one foot apart from one another. Fill the remaining hole with soil.

Many veges don't like overhead watering and lettuce is definitely no exception to the rule. Overhead watering can leave lettuce more susceptible to diseases.

In order to keep your lettuces from drying out, layer newspaper around the base of your plants and cover the paper with peastraw. This mulch will stop your plants from drying out and combat weeds from taking over your vege garden

In addition, to deter slugs and snails from sliming their way all over your plants, encircle your lettuces with broken eggshells. The slugs won't dare venture onto hard, sharp edges

Lettuce takes between six to eight weeks to mature, depending on the temperature where you live. Remember to plant new seedlings every couple of weeks to ensure a continuous supply for summer.

Once your lettuce is ready for harvest, get to work on spicing up your summer menu with Asian-inspired lettuce wraps. They're easy to make, delicious and put a fresh spin on our leafy friend and its use in the kitchen.

Firstly, add two tablespoons of oil to a pan and stir-fry one cup of chicken, pork, mince, shrimps or even tofu. The choice is yours! Heat at 180 degrees until the meat or tofu is cooked thoroughly.

Secondly, grate one carrot, shred half a cup of cabbage, finely chop three cloves of garlic and slice one onion into strips the size of matchsticks. Add the chopped vegetables to the pan along with two tablespoons of soy sauce, two tablespoons of lime juice and three tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce. Mix well and cook for a further seven to ten minutes.

Finally, peal off a hand full of lettuce leaves from your Buttercrunch or Great Lakes lettuce, wash under cold water and pat dry with a hand towel. Take a lettuce leaf and place two tablespoons of filling in the centre and top with a pinch of chopped roasted peanuts or a handful of crispy noodles for added crunchy goodness! Wrap the edges of the lettuce leaf around the filling, serve with rice and enjoy.

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