Friday, July 1, 2011

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Hmmm... doesn't LOOK so appetizing, but they are really good!

It's kind of funny how you get something stuck in your head for no apparent reason and it won't go away until you do something about it! Or maybe that's just me (and it explains a closet FULL of various arts and crafts projects that never happened).  I got it in my head that Chicken Lettuce Wraps sounded like the perfect summertime meal.  The idea of nice fresh lettuce wrapped around a light delicious protein mixture just struck a chord with me. So of course, I had to make them.

I haven't had them at a restaurant in close to ten years so I can't  vouch for whether or not these taste like Pei Wei or P.F. Changs, but they were very tasty! My husband loved them.  I thought the kids would really dig them, but not so much (except our 2 year old son who just pretty much digs FOOD!).

This is a mix of two different recipes -- one from Food Network Magazine and the other from I used ground chicken because I had it, but feel free to dice up boneless breasts or thighs.  I doubled this recipe using 2 pounds of ground chicken and 1 box of firm tofu.  I keep a lot of these Chinese ingredients on hand because we like to cook our own Chinese food.  Most of it will last you a good year or so. I did however, make my own hoison sauce (which I will post).  Be careful of the oyster sauce -- some brands contain MSG, but others don't. Just read the label carefully.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
1 Tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon dry white wine
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons Arrowroot powder (or corn starch)
1/3 cup water

Whisk all ingredients together and set aside.

1 1/2 pounds diced or ground chicken
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon peeled ginger, minced (you can use powdered, but it's not as flavorful)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (WEAR GLOVES!)
4 scallions, chopped in to 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 pound mushrooms, stemmed and diced
3/4 cup water chestnuts, diced (I did not use these)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 head of iceberg, Boston bibb or butter lettuce, cut in to quarters

In a large skillet, heat 2 Tablespoons of oil (peanut is great!) over medium high heat. Cook chicken until cooked through. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon.

Add 2 Tablespoons oil to pan and heat until almost smoking. Add ginger, jalapeno, garlic, scallions, salt and sugar to pan. Cook for 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and water chestnuts and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add sauce and chicken and cook for 1 minute. (Optional: stir in peanuts)

Serve mixture in lettuce leaves and eat like a taco!

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