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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Asian Lettuce Wraps

I was first introduced to lettuce wraps at P. F. Chang's years ago. This version is much cheaper and if you use rotisserie chicken, it is a quick meal. Also it could easily be converted to a meatless meal--just substitute another vegetable for the chicken.


Asian Lettuce Wraps

Cobbled together from a number of recipes. Sauce from Cooks Illustrated Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps.

This recipe is flexible and it's easy to create your own variations, depending on what you like or what you have. Consider carrots, red peppers, water chestnuts, or squash as your vegetables, and adjust cooking times according to how fast your vegetables cook.

Rice, of your choice
Crispy lettuce leaves, washed (I like romaine)

For the filling:

1 T vegetable oil
1 T grated fresh ginger
1 T minced garlic
1 lb button or crimini mushrooms
2 ribs celery
3 c cooked chicken (I used rotisserie)

For the sauce:

3 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice cooking wine or dry sherry
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Cook the rice.

Mince the garlic. Peel the ginger, using a spoon to scrape off the skin. Then grate the ginger using a microplane. (If you don't have a microplane, mince it with a chef's knife.) Trim and chop the mushrooms and celery. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, then add the ginger and garlic. Cook until fragrant, 30 seconds or so. Then add the mushrooms and celery and cook for about 15 minutes, until the vegetables reach desired tenderness.

Prepare the chicken. Cook, if necessary, then chop into smallish pieces to match the size of the vegetables. Then prepare the sauce: whisk all sauce ingredients in a small bowl until combined.

When the vegetables are done, add the chicken and sauce to the skillet. Cook for a couple of minutes to heat the chicken if necessary and combine flavors.

To serve, fill lettuce leaves with a little rice, then add some of the meat and vegetable mixture.

Note from Colette: Cook's Country Magazine also offers a good recipe for a filling for lettuce leaves. It suggests grinding your own pork but I have done it with purchased ground pork. This recipe, too, can be tweaked. I didn't have canned water chestnuts the last time I made it so I used carrots and it tasted great. I supplemented the filling with a spoonful of cooked white rice. 

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