Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Lettuce Wraps

Any time I can make something that tastes like a restaurant dish I like, I'm super pleased.

Do you have PF Chang in your part of the world?  We do here in Minnesota.  I've been a few times.  Their lettuce wraps are delicious.  I like the idea of a lettuce leaf in place of a rice pancake or a pile of rice.  Low carb, anyone?

My friend Gwen shared this recipe.  I barely tweaked it.  This amount fed our family just fine, with a large pile of rice to fill up the kids, and there's enough for Eric to take for lunch tomorrow.  That's always a good thing.

Use fresh ingredients if you have them, it's so worth it.  I used ground chicken, but you could easily sub ground turkey or ground pork.  And the iceberg lettuce?  Use it.  This is not about vitamins in your lettuce - there's plenty of other good stuff to eat here.  We had a pile of raw sugar snap peas and carrot sticks with our dinner.

You could serve this as an appetizer - great starter to any dinner. 

Lettuce Wraps

Sauce:
1/2 cup soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon sesame oil (toasted is best)
1 1/2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tsp asian chili paste
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Simmer that in a pan for a few minutes, then set aside.

1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger (a "thumb")
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 pound ground chicken
2 large carrots, grated
1/2 cup chopped cashews
1 cup chopped water chestnuts

In a large skillet, heat the oil and add the onion, garlic and ginger.  Saute over medium low for about 10 minutes.  Add the ground chicken, and cook until no longer pink.  Add the carrots, cashews and water chestnuts.  Add the sauce, stir to combine, and simmer on low for 5 minutes.

1 head of iceberg lettuce (or romaine, or butter), separated into large leaves
1 cup chopped scallions

Using a slotted spoon, scoop some of the meat mixture into a lettuce leaf.  Garnish with chopped scallions.  Eat and plan to be messy.  Serve with rice on the side and some raw veggies like peapods, carrots, peppers and broccoli.

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