I know what you’re thinking, “ugh, another lettuce wrap recipe? Really? Aren’t there, like, 8 million recipes for this online already?”
And yes, it’s true, there are just over 8 million Google hits for “lettuce wraps”, but I’ve tried a few, and I’ve been let down. Even a recipe in a popular celebrity cookbook was disappointing. I’ve been tinkering with this recipe for just over a year now, and I’m finally happy with where I landed.
For me, a good lettuce wrap has a few important aspects – texture (think crunchy bits), is saucy, big on flavour and is filling.
While we’re used to seeing lettuce wraps on the menu under the appetizer category, I like mine to be the whole meal. To make them filling enough to be the main course, I load them up with veggies and brown rice, or even green lentils. You can use whatever veggies you want but I’m impartial to sweet bell peppers (all colours), carrots, cabbage, and water chestnuts.
For texture, I employ chopped peanuts and chow mein noodles. I’m a huge fan of the crunch you get from chow mein.
To make the lettuce wraps big on flavour, I use a ton of garlic and fresh ginger. I find these two ingredients to be key players in the flavour game. Chili flakes add a touch of heat, and hoisin adds a bit of salty-sweet umami that keeps you coming back for more.
It’s no exaggeration when I say these Lettuce Wraps give me life! I’m straight-up addicted to making and eating them on the regular, and I have no doubt you will be too.
Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- 1/2 cup brown rice
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp water
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
- 1/4 tsp chili flakes
- canola oil
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1 cup yellow onion fine dice
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 1 small red pepper diced
- 1 cup water chestnuts roughly chopped
- grated carrot
- green onions sliced
- chow mein
- butter lettuce
Cook the 1/2 cup rice whichever method you prefer. I like to parboil, which means, I bring about 4 cups of water to a boil, dump in my rice, give it one quick stir, and then set a timer for 25-30 minutes. Drain off excess water and return to pot and cover until needed later.
Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
In a large skillet over medium heat, add enough canola oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan.
Once oil is hot, add onions. Sauté onions until soft. Add ground chicken and about 2-3 tbsp of the sauce to the pan and cook through, stirring occasionally.
Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Stir in the red pepper and water chestnuts.
Add in the rest of the sauce and cook until reduced.
Stir in the rice.
Serve on butter lettuce leaves, topped with grated carrot, sliced green onions, peanuts and chow mein.