Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Lettuce wraps are one my favorite things.
Just as yummy as tacos, but no guilt with any of those empty carbs!

I love these at P.F.Changs, but every time I ate them, I thought "how hard can this be?".  Answer IS... not hard at all! 

You do need some Asian condiments that I hope that you already have on hand because they are awesome and I think that are a necessary kitchen staple.
They are...
  • Garlic Chili Sauce- called sambal.  You can find this at almost any grocery store in the Northwest area, and I hope elsewhere too.
  • Hoisin Sauce is nothing more than Asian BBQ sauce and is super yummy on grilled meats, so you can find lots of other things to do with it too.
  • Sesame oil... you have that, right?  If not, get some!!!!
I didn't make the sauce that PF.Changs serves with great fanfare, custom mixed, at your table.  Here's what it is, Chinese mustard, sambal, soy/vinegar mix.  Yup, that's all.  My chicken (or turkey) wraps are spicy and flavorful enough that you don't really need the drippy sauce.  If you are not a spicy fan, use the lower amount of spice shown below.  I also had Sriracha hot sauce on mine, because it's almost never spicy enough for me.

I've never tried making these at home with tofu instead of turkey or chicken as a vegetarian option, but I think it would work out.  I like the tofu wraps at P.F.Changs almost as much as the meaty ones.  I'd use extra firm tofu chopped small. 

(Water Chestnuts not shown)

Serves 4-6
20 oz pkg ground chicken, or turkey
1 6oz. can water chestnuts, chopped
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (optional)
1 rib celery, minced
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 white onion, minced

1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1-3 Tbsp garlic red pepper chili sauce (sambal)
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar, or white vinegar
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp sesame oil

Serve with:
Iceberg lettuce "cups"
green onions
chopped peanuts
fresh cilantro springs

Brown your chicken or turkey over medium high heat in a tablespoon or two of sesame oil.  Use a flat edge utensil to keep the meat into small bits, as you want an even texture, not big chunks, as it cooks.  I don't bother draining off the liquid from the cooking, it's mostly water and broth and not much fat.  I add the chopped veggies; celery, jalapeno, water chestnuts, green onions, garlic and ginger. Cook for 1-2 minutes, but don't overcook, you want some crunch in those veggies.

Add the sauce ingredients and cook for a couple more minutes as the sauce reduces and thickens a little bit.  Turn off heat and let cool a little bit.

Serve on lettuce leaves, heaped with meat and then topped with more greens onions, cilantro and chopped peanuts.

This is a somewhat messy dish to eat... but very satisfying!!!

Here's some other yummy Asian dishes that you might enjoy!

Larb Gai is almost the Thai equivalent to Lettuce wraps, but different flavors and usually served on cabbage instead! 
Larb Gai
Spicy Thai Prawn Skewers
Thai Chicken Nachos
Vietnamese Spring Rolls

1 comment:

  1. Hello. Found your blog on the 'Best of WA' site. (I voted for you!) I love all your recipes. I have already earmarked a few that I want to make. THANKS