Lettuce wraps are great party food. I served these at my wife's birthday party last night and they were well received. Of all of the variations I have tried the Thai version in Robin Robertson's Vegan Planet (available from Amazon.com) are my favorite.
The ingredients are pictured above starting with cilantro at the top of the large plate. Moving clockwise we have minced shallots, minced serrano peppers (the Vegan Planet calls for Thai chiles), chopped peanuts, toasted coconut, minced lime (the whole lime), and minced ginger. The brown 'sauce' in the middle is a combination of peanuts, tamari soy sauce, toasted coconut, and brown sugar. These ingredients are boiled until thickened and then blended until smooth (I posted the recipe below.) The wrapper is butter lettuce.
The first time I served these I pre-wrapped them before the party started. I remember they were a little sour because I used too much lime in each one. This time I just put the ingredients out in small bowls and let people wrap their own. Some people skipped the hot peppers, others skipped the shallots. I think people enjoy putting their own food together.
Biting into one of these is amazing - all of those strong flavors hit you at once. The leftovers were gone by noon today. Here is the recipe for the sweet and salty sauce:
Combine the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a blender or food processor and process until smooth.