Crazy cravings for Thai food and/or Lettuce Wraps at P. F. Chang's...and NO time to get anywhere(!)...led to today's recipe. It's an Asian fusion kinda, Thai kinda...well, I don't know which actual kinda mish mash of Asian culture the rest of the wrap could be ascribed to - all I do know is that the wraps scratched every Asian itch we had.
Despite the fact that there are several parts to this recipe, don't be intimidated by the length of the recipe. Each component is easy to do and can be whipped up ahead of time. When you're ready for dinner, warm the filling and dinner is ready for YOU!
Asian-ish Thai-ish Chicken Lettuce WrapsWith Peanut Sauce
- 2 chicken breasts, minced in the food processor - don't overprocess into a paste! (method: cube still slightly frozen chicken and process in short pulses until it's a coarse, nice sized mince)
- 2 green onions, sliced well into the green
- 1 carrot, peeled, julienned
- 3/4 ounce Mei Fun rice noodles, crushed
- 1/4 c. water
- 1/4 water chestnuts, finely chopped
- 2 T soy sauce - or wheat free tamari if gluten is an issue
- 1 T chili oil
- 2 t. sesame oil
- 2 T. rice wine vinegar
- 2 T. sugar
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 2 t. grated fresh ginger + the juice that accumulates under the grater
- 3 T. wheat free tamari
- 1 t. chili oil
- 1 t. dark sesame oil
- 1T peanut oil
- 6 T. shredded carrot
- 4 T. thinly sliced green onion
- 4 T. finely diced seedless cucumber
- 2 very small cloves garlic, minced
- 2 T. thinly slivered red bell pepper
- 2 T. cilantro, minced
- reserved marinade from above
- 2 (or so - taste before adding more) T water
- 3 T. lime juice
- 2 t. fish sauce
- 2 t. soy sauce or wheat free tamari if gluten is an issue
- 1 t. sesame oil
- 2 t. sugar
- 2 t. water
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 T peanut butter
- finely chopped dry roasted peanuts
- finely chopped cilantro
- Bibb, small Romaine or leaf lettuce leaves - you know, small and flexible lettuce!
Marinade: Make marinade for chicken of rice wine vinegar through dark sesame oil. Stir well. Set aside 2 T. of the marinade and add the minced chicken to the remaining marinade. Refrigerate a couple of hours or so - overnight even.
Filling: Heat peanut oil in skillet. When it's good and hot, chicken by batches and brown. Remove each batch to a plate as it's done. When all the chicken is done, return it - and ALL the juices - to the skillet and add water chestnuts, noodles, green onion and carrot. Add the rest of the filling ingredients, stir well and taste - adjust seasonings as necessary.
Salad: In a medium bowl, toss together the shredded carrot, green onion, cucumber, garlic, red pepper and cilantro. Add reserved marinade mixed with water - taste the sauce and adjust as necessary. Set aside.
Sauce: Whisk the sauce ingredients well - taste & adjust. Set aside.
To serve: Plate a pile of lettuce leaves, a bowl of chicken, the shredded salad and the sauce. On a lettuce leaf, put a spoon of filling, a spoon of salad, drizzle with sauce and garnish with peanuts and cilantro. Roll and enjoy!
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