Quick Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps

July 28th, 2008 by katie

Quick skillet meals and salads are dinner staples during the summer-when the sweltering temperatures mean no one is interested in a hot, heavy meal or heating the kitchen for hours. This delicious take-out inspired meal combines the best of both. As written this is a perfect light summer meal for two or appetizer for four. I need to double this when I make it for dinner for my family-two adults and two kids. For four hungry adults, or as a party appetizer, I would triple it.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

serves 2, prep 10 min, cook time 10 min, adapted from Recipezaar

  • 2-3 tbsp oil, sesame or peanut are nice
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 4 oz mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup water chestnuts (optional)
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar, I use dark
  • iceberg lettuce leaves
  1. Heat the oil in a skillet or wok over high heat.
  2. Break up and brown the ground chicken. Remove cooked chicken from the pan, reserving the oil. Do not rinse the pan.
  3. Mince all of the vegetables-mushrooms through garlic. You also might want to run your knife through your cooked chicken as well to get the pieces more uniformly sized, you want everything to be texturally at the same fine mince.
  4. In a small bowl whisk together the soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar. You could also add some red pepper flakes or sriracha sauce if you want a little spice.
  5. Reheat your oiled pan to high heat, adding some additional oil if necessary.
  6. Add your chicken and vegetables to the hot oil and saute until onions and garlic soften.
  7. Add the sauce and cook and toss for an additional couple minutes. Taste and adjust your salt and seasonings.
  8. I serve this family style, in a large bowl, with plenty of iceberg leaf “cups,” fried rice and steamed sugar snap peas.

Don’t let the brown sugar in the sauce bother you, it does not make the dish overly sweet. Mr. Chaos does not particularly care for sweet entrees so I am generally on the look out for sugar as an ingredient. However, I have found in many stir fry sauces sugar and honey simply add depth of flavor that balances out the salty and vinegary. We love anything you eat with chopsticks so I’ve had to run this risk with numerous recipes and we’ve always agreed it balances well without being overly sweet.

Does anybody have any suggestions as to how to easily separate a head of lettuce? There’s got to be a way since restaurants do it all the time. My lettuce cups were particularly pitiful this go round.

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Posted in Easy, Fast, Main Dish, Snacks/Appetizers

8 Responses

  1. Andy

    I like this! It is one of those things I would never think to make, but it looks really easy, quick and delicious. And there are probably tons of ways to alter it to whatever food you have on hand.

  2. noble pig

    This is such a cool little meal. I think with separating, if you cut off the botton they leaves didn’t fall away easy?

    You know, you would think it would be that simple. Maybe my head of lettuce was the three-eyed goldfish of the iceberg group but it was so tightly wrapped and folded in on itself that nearly every leaf tore. I almost considered just making it a salad topping. -Katie

  3. Evan

    The easiest way I know to separate the leaves is to hold the top of the head of lettuce in your palm and slam the root/stem part on your counter. You aren’t trying to destroy it, but a good whack will break the stem apart (you should then be able to pull it out) and the leaves will be much easier to pull away.

  4. Tiffany

    I wanted to let you know that I made this last week and loved it. I’m writing a post about it on my blog and it will go live Monday, 10/06. Thanks!

    No, thank you! I am so glad you liked it. I will look forward to your review. -Katie

  5. Karrie

    I have been trying to find a good lettuce wrap recipe and this was exactly what I was looking for. (Just like P.F. Changs) I use romaine lettuce and break each leaf in half. I then fill it and you can eat it like a taco. Very easy and better for you than iceburg lettuce.

  6. Judy

    How to separate the lettuce leaves: Fill sink with very cold water. Remove the core of the lettuce – slamming it down works but don’t do it too hard or the leaves will break. Push the head of lettuce, cored side down, up and down in the water so that the water get between the leaves and cause them to separate. I believe this is how the restaurants do it and is why the lettuce is often quite wet.

    Thanks Judy! That’s a great trick. -Katie

  7. Tank

    Use Romaine lettuce leaves. They work perfectly with Korean Bulgogi which is a similar concept. Use them all the time with no hassle.

  8. Heather

    I added a little Indonesian “Ketjup” and my husband wouldn’t stop telling me how great they were! Thanks! Awesome recipie and supper fast.

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About chaos

cha·os -noun 1. a condition or place of great disorder or confusion. My chaotic kitchen is the result of three kids, two adults, dog, cat, and fish, a food obsession, a wine drinking hobby, and too few hours in the day. Between trying to feed a family of five healthy, happy meals, watching my weight, saving my pennies, and staying partially sane I have picked up a few tricks along the way. So here they are: the very best tips, tricks, and recipes from my chaotic kitchen-to yours!

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