Because the Christmas countdown is very near….this week I am trying to provide easy to do and quick as a whistle recipes, but also recipes that perk up the ole taste buds….in other words the dish has to taste good too.
I love lettuce wraps and my very first encounter with this delicious chicken-goodness-concoction came many, many years ago… with my BFF, Sweet Lu and her beautiful daughter….Koka-Kola! (Yes, these are special names to protect the innocent! I always give pet names to my dear friends and family.)
Let me set the scene: Sweet Lu and Koka-Kola and I were shopping on the Plaza in downtown Kansas City. If you have never visited the Plaza at Christmas Time….you are missing a treat, so if you get to KC…head on down to the beautiful plaza.
A quick note about the Plaza: What started with a single strand of Christmas lights strung over a store entrance in 1925 has turned into a living legend as the most spectacular holiday lighting display in the nation. A local tradition for 86 years, Plaza Lights is a 15-block holiday spectacle, featuring thousands of glimmering, jewel-colored lights that accentuate every dome, tower and window of the Spanish-inspired shopping district.
So in carrying on with that tradition and shopping til we dropped, my dear friends and I stopped for lunch at the famous P.F. Chang’s…..you know the place with the very large horse at the front door of the restaurant? Both of my dear friends suggested the appetizer lettuce wraps and when the order came….I couldn’t stop eating them….and even though I ordered the orange chicken for my entree….I kept going back to the lettuce wraps! Soooo delish!
These lettuce wraps are probably one of the most popular dishes at P.F. Chang’s and it is has certainly become my favorite. There are many copycat recipes for lettuce wraps and I have adopted/adapted my own. I made these such a long time ago that I don’t even have my old recipe that I jotted down on the back of an envelope. (ever done that my dear readers?) Consequently, I have made minor changes over the years, adding a little of this and that….I am talking sriracha here folks….and I really think my recipe is even better than the original. I love the flavor of the chicken, crunchy water chestnuts and sriracha and eating it with lettuce just makes it plain healthy! Am I right?
AND, I use this recipe as my main meal….no appetizer for this special dish…it is the star attraction! It is quick to prepare…about 20 minutes and seriously my friends, very easy. The extra bonus is it is budget friendly and easy on the carbs.
Have you made your version of lettuce wraps?
If so, please share anything you have added to make this meal taste even better!
As a side note….please forgive these pics….they are a bit dark….just as I was taking pics, the sun decided to leave sunny Florida and become overcast as nightfall was creeping in fast. This sometimes happens when photographing food….as those of you know who take photos. Just keeping it real folks. 🙂
Now, if you haven’t done so already….(and you do send cards) ….get those Christmas Cards addressed and in the mail….it is tradition after all and there are only 9 more days until Christmas!
Hugs as Always,
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (EVOO)
- 1 1/2 pounds of ground chicken (or you can use chicken breast, chopped)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
- 1 tbs. rice wine vinegar
- 3 teaspoons sriracha (can adjust if you don't like spicy)
- 1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil or peanut sauce (optional)
- a few scallions for garnish
- salt to taste
- Iceberg, Bibb or Butter lettuce leaves, rinsed and drained
- Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the ground chicken and cook for about 5 minutes until there is no longer pink, using a wooden spoon to break into smaller pieces as it cooks.
- Add in the onion, red peppers, garlic, ginger, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and the sriracha, making sure the sauce coats all the chicken
- Continue cooking until the chicken is thoroughly cooked (about 1-2 minutes).
- Stir in the water chestnuts, sesame oil and the scallions
- Separate the lettuce leaves making little "boats" that will become the wrap
- Serve the chicken in a pretty bowl along side the lettuce boats
- Allow your guests to scoop as much of the chicken into their lettuce boat wraps as desired.
- Serve with a mixture of soy sauce, hoisin sauce and spicy mustard along-side in smaller ramekins.
- Garnish with scallions if desired
- This is a fun recipe to experiment with if you keep the basics the same. chicken, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, onions, and water chestnuts. Really, you can't go wrong with this one.