We have an affinity for Asian-inspired foods at our house and so we have developed a number of easily prepared favorites over the years. At first glance, it might appear that these Chicken Lettuce Wraps are complicated, but they really are simple and are sure to become a favorite in your home as well.
I like to grind my own chicken whenever I can, but you can certainly ask your butcher to do that for you. Or, you can finely mince it yourself if you prefer. Generally, I use a mixture of white and dark meat but either one alone will work. Depending upon your family, you may want to increase the amount of heat in the dish or decrease it if there are young children or sensitive palates at your table. We usually like it with added heat ourselves.
You can certainly add in additional ingredients, such as chopped bell peppers or even finely chopped summer squash especially if you are trying to sneak in a few extra vegetables! The recipe is easily adapted for ground turkey or pork as well.
Grab some fortune cookies and frozen edamame in pods at your local market and make it an Asian evening for dinner soon.
CHICKEN LETTUCE WRAPS
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
- 1 head Bibb, butter or head lettuce, leaves separated, rinsed and dried
- 1 pound ground or finely minced chicken (We prefer mixture of breast and thighs.)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon peanut or olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large carrot, finely grated
- 3 to 4 medium shitake mushrooms, stemmed and minced
- 2 to 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Mirin (sweet rice wine), optional
- 1 tablespoon (or to taste) freshly grated ginger
- 1 Thai or serrano chili thinly sliced crosswise (jalapeno may be substituted)
- 1 8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 to 2 teaspoons sesame chili oil
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro plus more for garnish
- ¼ cup chopped dry-roasted peanuts or cashews, optional
Special Sauce (optional)
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/8 teaspoon chili oil
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon Chinese hot mustard
- 1 to 3 teaspoons garlic chili sauce
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned, approximately 5 minutes being sure to crumble the chicken as it cooks; drain well and set aside.
- In the same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté 2 minutes. Add in the minced garlic, grated carrot and minced mushrooms. Sauté 2-3 minutes. Add in the sliced chili pepper.
- Add in the hoisin, soy sauce, Sriracha, rice vinegar and Mirin. Return the chicken to the skillet. Cook stirring frequently for 4-5 minutes until all of the vegetables and chicken are cooked thoroughly.
- Stir in the water chestnuts, green onions, sesame chili oil and chopped cilantro. Heat 1-2 minutes.
- Divide lettuce leaves among four serving plates.
- Prepare the Special Sauce by whisking all ingredients together in a small bowl; set aside.
- Place the chicken mixture on a serving platter and garnish with chopped peanuts and cilantro, if desired.
- To serve, place a generous spoonful of the chicken mixture in the center of each lettuce leaf. If desired, drizzle with a spoonful of the Special Sauce.