Chicken Lettuce Wraps
For years I’ve avoided putting up a recipe for Chicken Lettuce Wraps mainly because I felt this is one of the most overrated dishes in Asian restaurants in the West. From Chinese to Thai restaurants, I found this dish to be overpriced for a dish whose ingredients are quite inexpensive and very simple to make at home. So many of you have asked me for my recipe of this though that I finally decided to put my old recipe to paper and did enjoy making and eating these after years of what I suppose mounted to a silly boycott of sorts in my head. The origins of Chicken Lettuce Wraps are fuzzy at best so while I’m tempted to say that my recipes is not strictly and authentically Chinese, I also have to say that while traveling in China, I never encountered this dish there. My best guess is that like so many popular “Chinese” or “Asian” dishes in the West, some Asian chef decades ago decided to create something that would serve Western palates and eventually the dish became so popular that it circled back East. In any case, enjoy this super easy recipe and feel free to add your own herbs, spices and sauces to create perfection for your palate once you’ve mastered the basics here.
Makes 6 to 8 Wraps (depending on how much chicken you use per lettuce cup)
1 lb (~500 grams) ground chicken
6 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced
1/4 onion, finely diced
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons plum sauce
Lettuce leaves (I like using butter lettuce)
Ground toasted rice for garnish**
Heat a wok on high heat until you see a bit of smoke rising. Place the ground chicken in the wok and stir-fry for about 3 minutes until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
Add the garlic, ginger, onion and scallion, tossing together with the chicken until well combined for just 1 minute or so. Turn off the heat.
Add the soy sauce, oyster sauce and plum sauce, mixing thoroughly. Let the chicken mixture rest briefly.
Arrange individual lettuce leaves on a serving platter. Spoon about 2 heaping tablespoons of the chicken mixture into each lettuce cup. Garnish with the toasted rice and serve immediately. Alternatively, you can place all the chicken in a large serving bowl with the lettuce next to the bowl and allow people to assemble their own cups.
***Ground Toasted Rice: toast 2 tablespoons uncooked rice in a small pan on medium heat for about 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown. Pulse in a food processor until the texture resembles fine bread crumbs.