Asian chicken lettuce wraps are a favorite of mine. The sweet and savory meat filling with jolts of ginger, garlic and chili against the cool, crisp lettuce is a refreshing, splendid combination. They’re traditionally served as an appetizer but they make a fairly regular appearance at our dinner table served with steamed white rice or fried rice and some steamed broccoli.
Many recipes for Asian chicken wraps call for pre-ground chicken. I prefer chopping my own in a food processor. It has better flavor and I just don’t care for the grainy, mealy texture of stir-fried ground poultry. It does require some trimming and chilling and hauling out the food processor, but I think that small amount of effort is worth it. It’s still a very doable weeknight dish.
Besides being delicious, quite quick to prepare and fun to eat, they’re pretty healthy. Lets face it, especially this time of year, its nice to have a break between heavy holiday meals.
Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- 1 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 6 tablespoons hoisin sauce, divided
- ¼ cup soy sauce, divided
- 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, divided
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- ¼ cup Thai sweet chili sauce
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 scallions, white parts minced, green parts sliced thin
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped fine
- ½ cup chopped cashews
- 1 head Bibb lettuce (8 ounces), washed and dried, leaves separated and left whole
- Place chicken pieces on large plate in single layer. Freeze meat until firm and starting to harden around edges, about 20 minutes. Pulse half of the meat in food processor until coarsely chopped, about 10 pulses. Transfer meat to bowl and repeat with remaining chunks.
- Meanwhile, whisk 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons vinegar, sesame oil, Sriracha sauce and cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside for cooking.
- In another bowl combine remaining 2 tablespoons soy, ¼ cup hoisin sauce, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar and Thai sweet chili sauce. Set this sauce aside for serving.
- Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until smoking. Add chicken and cook, stirring constantly, until opaque, 3 to 4 minutes. Add water chestnuts, scallion whites, garlic and ginger. Cook stirring constantly until fragrant. Whisk the cooking sauce mixture to recombine and add sauce to skillet and cook until slightly thickened.
- To serve, spoon chicken into lettuce leaves, drizzle reserved sauce and top with scallion greens and cashews.