Recently, I had the opportunity to join Chef Walter in the kitchen and make some tasty Asian Style Chicken Lettuce Wraps.


Ingredients

¼ cup canola oil (divided)

4-6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into small bite-size pieces

salt & ground black pepper to taste

½ – 1 medium onion, diced

½ – 1 red bell pepper, diced

½ – 1 inch ginger root, grated

1-2 cloves garlic, grated/chopped

1 head iceberg/Romaine lettuce (2-4 leaves/person)

2-4 green onions, chopped

2 Tbsp – ¼ cup soy sauce (low sodium)

½ – 1 cup peanuts (no salt added), finely chopped

½ – 1 (8 oz) can water chestnuts, chopped

2 Tbsp – ¼ cup fresh cilantro (2 tsp – 1 Tbsp dried)

 

Preparation

  1. In a wok/large skillet over medium-high to high heat, add 2 Tbsp canola oil and brown chicken. Sprinkle in salt and pepper. Once brown, remove and set aside.
  2. In the same wok/skillet, add 2 Tbsp canola oil. Sauté onion and bell pepper until onion is translucent. Flavor with salt and pepper. Add the chicken back in.
  3. Add ginger, garlic, green onions, and soy sauce to the wok/skillet.
  4. Mix in peanuts, water chestnuts, and cilantro.
  5. Serve in lettuce cups. Serves 4-6.

 

Alternatives

Original Ingredient:

Replace With (use exact measurements from above unless otherwise noted below):

canola oil

grapeseed oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, or vegetable oil

boneless skinless chicken thighs

boneless skinless chicken breasts, pork loin, steak, extra firm tofu, or Portobello mushrooms (bite size pieces)

onions

4-6 shallots

red bell pepper

mild peppers (cubanelle, poblano, or Anaheim), medium heat  to hot peppers (fresno, jalapeño, chipotle in adobo,  serrano or habanero peppers), or any type of pepper

ginger root

galangal or leave out

garlic cloves

⅛ – ¼ tsp garlic powder or ½ tsp minced garlic

iceberg/Romaine lettuce

butterhead/Bibb lettuce, any type of cabbage leaves, or any type of tortillas

green onions

8-20 chives (chopped)

soy sauce

Shoyu soy sauce, gluten-free soy sauce, tamari sauce, or teriyaki sauce

peanuts

any type of nuts

water chestnuts

½ – 1 cup bamboo shoot or jicama

cilantro

parsley

Tips

–       To maintain longer freshness, gently wash and dry herbs. Place in a jar or vase with water, and store in a cool location away from direct sunlight. Do not refrigerate.

–       Simply grate garlic with a zester/grater to make garlic paste.

–       For an alternate way to make garlic paste, peel and finely chop garlic. Add a pinch or two of salt on top of garlic and rub garlic repeatedly with sides of knife.

–       Rub fingers on stainless steel underneath water to remove garlic smell from hands.

–       Mashing/cracking garlic first allows for easier peeling.

–       When buying garlic heads, look for ones that are tightly held together, firm, and have no give when you squeeze them in your hand.

–       Place dried herbs in mortar and pestle and gently crush to draw out flavor. If you do not own a mortar and pestle, gently rub herbs with both hands.

–       Store dried herbs and spices away from heat and sunlight.

–       Store oils in a dark cool place away from heat sources and sunlight.

–       Remove ribs and seeds of jalapeño peppers to reduce heat.

–       Store any type of pepper in a brown bag and place in the crisper in refrigerator.

–       To reduce spiciness in a dish, add a little sugar.

–       To reduce that burning mouth sensation from spicy foods or hot peppers, drink milk or eat a couple of spoonfuls of yogurt, ice cream, or sour cream. Never drink water, carbonated beverages, or hot tea or coffee to relieve the burning sensation.

–       Wash lettuce just prior to eating.

–       Store onions and shallots in a warm location away from sunlight. Storing onions in the refrigerator causes them to become soft, mold faster, and alter the taste of other produce.

–       To peel ginger, use tip of spoon and scrape. Store peeled ginger in a resealable bag in freezer to maintain freshness. Do not store in pantry or refrigerator, as it will dry out faster.

–       Use zester/grater to grate ginger.

–       Due to their high concentration of oil, it is best to store nuts in freezer to maintain longer freshness.

–       To maintain longer freshness, wash green onions/chives/cilantro immediately when you bring them home from the store. Dry off and store wrapped up in paper towels in a resealable plastic bag in refrigerator.

–       Pair cilantro with mint and/or other herbs to reduce intensity of the cilantro flavor.