There’s a theory that consuming spicy food causes our bodies to feel pain.
This then triggers our brains to release endorphins to reduce the stress and generally make us feel good. Which most likely explains why we are a nation addicted to hot sauce.
When I was growing up, our collection was limited to Tabasco and sweet chilli sauce, which
I thought was the height of sophistication. Today fridges are stocked with global options that range from mild and fruity to mind-blowingly fiery.
I’m rather partial to Chinese chiu chow chilli oil and harissa (a North African chilli paste), though the Carolina Reaper from South Carolina is the world’s hottest chilli and you can find a sauce made from it in major supermarkets, should you dare.
Heat a large frying pan over a high heat with 2 tbsp cooking oil. When the oil is smoking hot add the pork and fry it, breaking up the meat, for 2-3 minutes or until any excess liquid has evaporated
Mostly we use chilli sauce as a condiment – splashed directly on scrambled eggs or added to marinades – but it’s also a great foil for the richness of dairy.
I like it stirred into Greek yogurt as a spicy dipping sauce for potato wedges and in grilled cheese sandwiches; or simply heated with salted butter until foaming, to spoon over steamed green veg, grilled fish or chicken.
You can also add a few drops to vinaigrettes to pep up summer salads, even to chocolate tarts.
The recipe I’ve shared here uses an Asian style chilli garlic sauce, one of my favourites as it is a quick and easy way to add heaps of flavour to stir-fries.
Take the pan off the heat and allow the pork to cool for a couple of minutes before spooning it in to the little gem lettuce leaf cups. They are now ready to serve
CHILLI PORK LETTUCE CUPS
Great for summer parties, these also make a tasty quick lunch or light supper. Add vermicelli rice noodles to make them more substantial
£1.90* PER PERSON
Heat a large frying pan over a high heat with 2 tbsp cooking oil. When the oil is smoking hot add the pork and fry it, breaking up the meat, for 2-3 minutes or until any excess liquid has evaporated.
Chilli garlic sauce is an easy way to flavour stir-fries
Add 2 tbsp chilli garlic sauce and 1 tbsp soy sauce then fry for 2-3 minutes until the pork is turning golden in places. Taste and add a little more chilli garlic sauce if you like it hot.
Separate the little gem leaves and lay out on a large platter.
Halve and deseed the peppers, then cut them into thin slices.
Place a slice or two of the peppers inside each lettuce leaf cup.
Take the pan off the heat and allow the pork to cool for a couple of minutes before spooning it in to the little gem lettuce leaf cups. They are now ready to serve.
*THIS COST ASSUMES YOU ALREADY HAVE SOME BASIC STORE-CUPBOARD INGREDIENTS. PRICES TAKEN FROM SAINSBURY’S AND CORRECT AT TIME OF GOING TO PRESS.