LISTEN TO MF DOOM “MM..FOOD” ON SPOTIFY
This is part of the Cooking The Album project for MF DOOM’s MM..FOOD, and one of three dessert titles on the album.
As an old white guy, I’m not going to try to place MF DOOM in some sort of musical context or even attempt to comment on how shit most of the current rep/hip-hop releases are. I’m just going to say, when I discovered MF DOOM a few years back as part of the Adult Swim music thang, I was an instant fan. He’s the comic book sci-fi nerd friend who brought off-brand snacks to your parties. He’s the laid back guy who could give you a cracked copy of a rare videogame and a bizarre out-of-production Japanese soda. He wears a mask so no one knows who he is and that’s fine because we are all actually MF DOOM.
I am not going to get into any sort of album/song review for these recipes. I am just going to look at the lyrical inspiration and the dish and let shit play out. In this, the album’s first track, MF DOOM is hungry, wants to “munch a little bit”, and bounces out for a bit. On a literal level, DOOM is heading out to get a snack, and Asian seasoned beef wrapped in lettuce is a perfect choice. Hearty enough to kill the munchies, but not enough to stop him from having a proper dinner later.
On another level, this is about having a “beef” – or diametrically opposed belief – with another “rapper”. A grudge or hostile issue with a rival. Hence the title: Beef Rap. It is perhaps advisable to work those issues out over a plate of Beef Rap.
From an actual culinary standpoint, I never really got the Lettuce Wrap concept. I get tacos, gyros, pitas, and the global variety of bread wraps, but I’ve never truly grokked the “wrap some meat in a form of lettuce or cabbage” thing. I even worked (very briefly) as a joint that used Savoy cabbage for tacos and, while kinda delicious, I always wondered “Why not tortilla?” (Yeah – keto/insert diet here/elevating menu yadda yadda, but yeah whatevs…)
That said, this was pretty solid. Leftover grilled steak was thrown into a nicely savory Asian sauce with some sauteed peppers, topped with crushed peanuts and Sriracha and wrapped with whatever leafy lettuce you have in the fridge. If I have to be honest (and I do), find some Savoy cabbage. It makes a perfect taco/wrap size cup per leaf. Otherwise, go Napa cabbage or Iceberg lettuce (YEP! ICEBERG!). Really any large leaf lettuce will work. You’re simply looking for a vehicle to get meat from plate to mouth. It’s not rocket science.
Hoisin beef, bell pepper, scallion, peanuts and sriracha in a lettuce leaf
Makes 6-8 wraps depending on how generous you are
1 head large leaf lettuce (Green leaf, Boston, Butter, Iceberg, etc.)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 pound beef (ground or thin-sliced steak)
1 bell pepper, diced fine (red, yellow, green, or orange)
2-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
2 scallions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
Separate lettuce leave and clean. Thoroughly dry the leaves and set aside.
In a skillet over medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil and saute beef until brown. Stir in ginger, scallions, garlic, and bell pepper. Saute for 2 minutes. Add soy sauce, red pepper flakes, hoisin, salt, and pepper and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the peanuts. Serve warm wrapped in lettuce cups.