Asian lettuce wraps | foodsciencenerd.com

Tiny Adventures: Asian Lettuce Wraps

Posted on Posted in Inspiration, Nutrition Information, Recipes

I did it!  I survived my first year of grad school!

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Baseball and no classes. This is the life.

To celebrate, I went a little crazy at Wegman’s, aka the best place on earth, and bought ingredients for something other than baked chicken and broccoli, my stressed-out go-to.  I actually didn’t even think about getting unusual ingredients until I was already on my way to the store, but Wegman’s being the wonderful place it is, I was able to grab a coffee, sit down in their cafe, and plot this week’s meals (side note: I thought Wegman’s should be pretty empty on Mother’s Day morning, but I was wrong… why were so many moms doing their grocery shopping on Mother’s Day?!?).  I recently made the Pioneer Woman’s Chili Recipe, which was fantastic and lasted 3 full meals, to help me get through exam week.  I had to buy a variety of spices that I’ve never owned (side note: you’ll need about 4x the amount of spices and tomato sauce her recipe calls for), and it was the first time I’ve ever truly enjoyed a homemade meal with seasonings other than tame selections like salt, garlic, basil, etc.  I also recently made the Cook’s Illustrated Beef and Broccoli stir fry (a few times, actually) from their awesome new book, so I collected some odd things like Hoisin sauce, fresh ginger, rice wine vinegar, and fish sauce.  Inspired by these tiny forays into flavor, I decided to make lettuce wraps, chicken/shrimp Pad Thai (I had the BEST pad thai at Legal Test Kitchen in Boston last weekend- I had lived there for almost 6 years and never went to Legal Seafoods until I’d moved away!), and Middle-Eastern inspired chicken pitas with tzatziki for dinners this week.  After the unhealthy stress of finals, I figured sampling cuisines from the healthiest regions of the world couldn’t be a bad idea.

Tonight, I made the lettuce wraps.  I melded a few different recipes from around the interwebs (read: Pinterest) and my good ol’ paper cookbooks to come up with this recipe:

Asian Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients (approximate amounts- as usual, everything is to taste!):

  • 3 parts low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 part rice vinegar
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated finely
  • 1/2 tsp chili/chile powder (there is a difference, but it doesn’t matter for this)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Sprinkle of corn starch
  • 8 leaves Boston or iceburg lettuce
  • Canola oil
  • 1 cup onion, diced fine
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 5 oz shittake mushrooms, chopped very fine
  • 2 chicken breasts (about ¾ lb. total), sliced thin
  • 2 T low sodium soy sauce, divided
  • Chili powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • ¼ cup cashews, chopped
  • Lime
  • Sriracha/hot sauce
  • Basil leaves
  • Cooked brown rice (optional)

Directions:

  1.  Combine the first 8 ingredients in a small sauce pan and whisk/simmer until the corn starch and brown sugar are dissolved.

IMG_11942.  Saute the onion and garlic in 1 T oil in a cast iron pan until softened, then remove to a plate.
3.  Saute the mushrooms on high with salt, garlic powder, and a splash of soy sauce until the mushrooms are all shrivelly and burnt (My boyfriend doesn’t like mushrooms, but cooked like this you’d never know they’re there).  I added them for substance and because, surprisingly, mushrooms are pretty good for you.
Yup this is a mushroom (and my new pet). Appropriately, mushrooms are a good source of weird stuff like selenium, copper, and panthothenic acid.

Yup this is a mushroom (and my new pet). Appropriately, mushrooms are a good source of weird stuff like selenium, copper, and panthothenic acid.

  1.  Remove the mushrooms and sear the chicken in two batches with soy sauce, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt to taste.

IMG_12015.  While the chicken is searing, separate out 8 lettuce leaves (as whole as possible), rinse, and leave out to dry.

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  1.  Combine the sauce, onions, mushrooms, and chicken in the cast iron pan.  Season as needed.

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  1.  Spoon into lettuce leaves on top of brown rice, if desired.

Asian lettuce wraps | foodsciencenerd.com

  1.  Serve with hot sauce, cashews, basil leaves, and lime wedges for personalized topping:

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My take:  Delicious!  I’d make this often.  It’s super flavorful, healthy, cheap, and easy to make.  My boyfriend’s take: “This is delicious, but the lettuce is dumb.”  So I guess it’s a new staple!

Asian lettuce wraps | foodsciencenerd.com

Asian Lettuce Wraps

Asian Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients

  • 3 parts low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 part rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated finely
  • 1/2 tsp chili/chile powder (there is a difference, but it doesn't matter for this)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Sprinkle of corn starch
  • 8 leaves Boston or iceburg lettuce
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup onion, diced fine
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 5 oz shittake mushrooms, chopped very fine
  • 2 chicken breasts (about ¾ lb. total), sliced thin
  • 2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce, divided
  • Chili powder, garlic powder, salt, to taste
  • ¼ cup cashews, chopped
  • Lime, sriracha/hot sauce, basil leaves, for serving
  • Cooked brown rice (optional)

Directions

  1. Combine the first 8 ingredients in a small sauce pan and whisk/simmer until the corn starch and brown sugar are dissolved.
  2. Saute the onion and garlic in oil in a cast iron pan until softened, then remove to a plate.
  3. Saute the mushrooms on high with salt, garlic powder, and a splash of soy sauce until the mushrooms are all shrivelly and burnt.
  4. Remove the mushrooms and sear the chicken in two batches with soy sauce, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt to taste.
  5. While the chicken is searing, separate out 8 lettuce leaves (as whole as possible), rinse, and leave out to dry.
  6. Combine the sauce, onions, mushrooms, and chicken in the cast iron pan. Season as needed.
  7. Spoon into lettuce leaves on top of brown rice, if desired.
  8. Serve with hot sauce, cashews, basil leaves, and lime wedges for personalized topping.
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