Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Asian Lettuce Wraps

Here is yet another recipe that I tried from Our Best Bites. We really enjoyed this one. Kenneth and myself, that is. The kids? Not so much. It was very hard for them to hold and keep the mixture in the lettuce leaves, which rip and break when little hands mangle them. So, not a meal I will make for them. Luckily, my kids like oatmeal. That is always our fall-back meal if what I made is too spicy for them or really not kid appropriate. They are happy as clams to just eat their oatmeal.
One other thing I really liked about this is that it was great for left-overs. Kenneth and I enjoyed these for lunch for 2 or 3 days. The chicken mixture tasted great reheated in the microwave, the dipping/drizzling sauce kept well in the fridge, as did the rinsed lettuce leaves in a gallon zip-lock baggie.
The gals at Our Best Bites actually found the recipe in Cooking Light and adapted it a little. I followed the recipe exactly as they wrote it and it was fabulous. I even ground my own chicken in my food processor, which worked like a charm! One down side, it is rather time consuming prepping the fresh vegetables. But, good things take time. I chopped and grated my vegetables and even ground my chicken during nap time, so it actually came together quite quickly at dinner time. I highly recommend doing the prep work earlier in the day if possible, so it doesn't seem like quite a chore right before dinner. And, you can do all that work knowing it will feed you for a few days. Here is the link on Our Best Bites. Enjoy!

Asian Lettuce Wraps
Recipe by Our Best Bites

2 tsp canola oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 lb ground chicken*
3 ounces mushrooms, finely chopped (about 8 small mushrooms)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 C bagged coleslaw mix or thinly shredded cabbage
1 8oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained, rinsed, and finely minced
1/2 C thinly sliced green onions
4 Tbs soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 lemon, zested and juiced (about 3-4 Tbs juice)
1/2-1 tsp sriracha or other hot sauce (1 tsp of Sriracha is fairly spicy in my opinion, so if you want less or no kick, just give it a little, or you can leave it out completely)
1/3 C roughly chopped cilantro
1-2 heads iceberg lettuce

*To prepare your own ground chicken, cut boneless skinless chicken breasts into large chunks and pulse in a food processor until ground.

Dipping/Drizzling Sauce
4 Tbs soy sauce
4 Tbs rice vinegar
3 Tbs water
2 tsp honey
1-2 tsp finely minced fresh ginger

Heat a very large skillet to medium-high heat on the stove top. When hot, add vegetable oil and then garlic and ginger. Saute for about 30 seconds, until fragrant, and then add ground chicken, chopped mushrooms, and kosher salt. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until chicken is cooked through. (*At this point, sometimes I have some extra liquid in the pan from the chicken. If it’s quite a bit, I tilt the pan and spoon it out so the chicken can cook and not boil.) Add cabbage/coleslaw, water chestnuts, and green onions. Cook for about 2 minutes, until cabbage starts to wilt. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, the zest from the lemon and the lemon juice, and hot sauce to taste. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.

To prepare dipping sauce, combine all ingredients and whisk to combine.

To serve, carefully remove the individual leaves from the head of lettuce. (The closer you get to the center, the easier it becomes!) Place chicken mixture in the leaves and serve with sauce.

Yield: about 5 C chicken mixture. Makes 14-16 lettuce wraps.

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