Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Wanted something easy, yet tasty last night. The rain-- which seems endless--- is keeping us from grilling. Plus, we've been away for the last three out of the four weekends doing family chores, so our own fridge is woefully empty. What could I pick up at the store and cook in a jiffy?

Then, I remembered that I have been wanting to try to re-create Chicken Wraps. My lips smack when I think about them. Luckily, I had already done the research for the blog. I just needed to buy the ingredients.

Looks like a lot of ingredients, but if you cook any Chinese, you'd most likely have them on hand. If not, they are all readily available in a typical grocery store, in the international aisle.

For my version, I combined two recipes --- one from A Little San Francisco Cookbook ---Chinatown in San Francisco is where I had this dish for the first time -- it's says that they are Cantonese in origin and were made with squab. And the other recipe came from Food & Wine, April, 2007.

3 T. chopped garlic
1.5 T. grated fresh ginger
1/2 t. red pepper flakes (optional - but we like heat)
1 T. canola oil

Stir fry Sauce
1 T. soy sauce
1.5 t. dry sherry
1.5 t. Chinese black bean sauce
1.5 t. sugar
3/4 t. cornstarch dissolved in 2 T. water

1 medium head butter lettuce, leaves separated
1 large carrot, cut into match sticks -- I used store bought

1 lb. chicken thighs, cleaned, dried, chopped into 1/2 inch dice (bite-size)
1 8 ounce can water chestnuts, drained -- be sure to buy diced
3 green onions, sliced thin, white and as much of the green parts as you can

oil for stir-frying
chicken broth, if needed, for stir-frying

1 t. sesame oil
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro

Finely chop chicken -- this takes the longest, so be sure to give yourself enough time. Mix together chicken, water chestnuts, green onions with marinade ingredients in a medium bowl; marinade for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, tear large leaves in half and prepare carrots and cilantro; set aside.

Make stir fry sauce with the soy sauce, sherry, black bean sauce, sugar and the dissolved cornstarch.

Heat 1 -2 T. canola oil in a large work or frying pan until extremely hot and swirling. Add chicken mixture; stir-fry until chicken is opaque, 6- 10 minutes, and starts to brown. Add a little chicken broth if you get too much sticking. Add stir fry sauce and reduce heat to medium for one more minute, until sauce thickens, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in sesame oil. Mound chicken mixture in center of a serving dish. Surround chicken mixture with about 20 lettuce leaves.

To eat, place 2 T. chicken mixture in a lettuce leaf with some carrots and cilantro; foll up.

Makes 4 servings.

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