LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Chinese New Year begins on Feb. 5, 2019 and ends on January 25, 2020. 

This is the Year of the Pig. The pig represents wealth and prosperity. People born in the following years were born under the sign of the pig: 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995 and 2007.

We like the combination of chicken and pork, but you can just as easily make it all chicken or all pork.

CHICKEN and PORK LETTUCE WRAPS

yield: 6-8 SERVINGS*

INGREDIENTS:

•    1 tablespoon vegetable oil 

•    1 pound ground chicken 

•    1 pound ground pork 

•    2 cloves garlic, minced 

•    1 onion, diced 

•    1/4 cup hoisin sauce 

•    2 tablespoons soy sauce 

•    1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar 

•    1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger 

•    1 tablespoon Sriracha, optional 

•    1-2 teaspoons Sambal Oelek (chili paste), to taste 

•    1 (8-ounce) can whole water chestnuts, drained and diced 

•    2 green onions, thinly sliced 

•    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 

•    1 head butter or iceberg lettuce 

•    Optional garnishes: fried maifun (rice sticks), chopped cilantro, sliced radishes, shredded carrots, chopped roasted peanuts, sliced serrano or jalapeño peppers 

DIRECTIONS:

1.    Heat vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add ground meats and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the meat as it cooks; drain excess fat. 

2.    Stir in garlic, onion, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger and Sriracha until onions have become translucent, about 1-2 minutes. 

3.    Stir in chestnuts and green onions until tender, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper to taste. 

4.    To serve, spoon several tablespoons of the chicken-pork mixture into the center of a lettuce leaf, taco-style. Spread with sauce to taste.

5.    Garnish as desired. 

*Note:  You can easily cut the recipe in half. If you prefer a juicy mixture, do not halve the liquid/spice ingredients. 

SPECIAL SAUCE

INGREDIENTS

•    ¼ cup granulated sugar (I prefer less sugar.) 

•    ½ cup water 

•    2 tablespoons soy sauce 

•    2 tablespoons rice vinegar 

•    2 tablespoons ketchup 

•    1 tablespoon lemon juice 

•    ⅛ teaspoon sesame oil 

•    1 tablespoon Chinese hot mustard 

•    2 teaspoons water 

•    1 to 3 teaspoons chili garlic sauce or Sambal Oelek  

•    Wasabi paste, optional (to taste) 

DIRECTIONS

1.    Dissolve the ¼cup sugar in ½ cup water in a small bowl 

2.    Add 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons ketchup, 1 tablespoon lemon juice,  ⅛ teaspoon sesame oil. 

3.    Mix well and refrigerate this sauce until you’re ready to serve the lettuce wraps. 

4.    Combine the 2 teaspoons water with the Chinese hot mustard and set this aside as well. Eventually, you will add your desired measurement of Chinese mustard and garlic chili sauce to the special sauce mixture to add additional heat.