Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Lettuce wraps are one of those foods that seem really healthy, but the calories and sodium are actually pretty shocking.  You figure, its meat wrapped in lettuce, how bad can it be for you?  Well, I'd venture to say close to 1000 calories for an order from some popular chain restaurants.

These, however, are nice and light.  I really liked the sweet-spicy-salty combo of these, and Joey said he really enjoyed them too.  Even Caroline couldn't get enough.  She gobbled the chicken and rice up like you wouldn't believe.  This dinner comes together very quickly, so its perfect for a weeknight meal.  I served it with steamed broccoli and grilled pineapple slices, and it was a really delicious dinner!

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps
serves 4
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup short-grain rice, such as sushi rice, rinsed
  • 3 Tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus 2 teaspoons grated lime zest
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 pound ground chicken or turkey
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 Thai or jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 3 scallions, sliced thin
  • 12 Bibb or Boston lettuce leaves (about 1 head)
Bring the water and rice to a boil in a medium saucepan set over high heat.  Cover, reduce to low, and cook for 10 minutes.  Remove rice from heat and allow to sit, covered, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, and cornstarch together in a small bowl. 

In a medium bowl, mash the ground chicken using the back of a spoon until smooth and no strand-like pieces of meat remain.

Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat.  Add the chicken, chile, and lime zest, and cook, breaking up the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until the chicken is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

Whisk the fish sauce mixture to recombine, and add to the skillet.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce has thickened, about 45 seconds.  Remove from heat, and stir in the basil and scallions.

Transfer chicken to a serving bowl and serve with rice and lettuce leaves.

source:  Cook's Illustrated, Light and Healthy 2010


Sarah from 20somethingcupcakes said...

For some reason, I have been afraid of fish sauce, but I think I need to get over it. These look good - I think I'd make them even healthier by leaving the rice out! xxSAS

Joanne said...

It really is amazing how bad restaurants can make food! This lightened up version looks delicious though and probably much tastier.

Anonymous said...

I was afraid of fish sauce too - and it does take some getting used to, but it adds such a nice flavor that you miss it if it's not there. The Lettuce Wraps were easy to make and were delicious!

lawgirl said...

Not wanting to purchase yet another bottle to store in the cupboard, I used 1.5 tbsp of soy sauce and 1.5 tbsp of worcestershire sauce, and it was really good. I'm not familiar enough with fish sauce to know how different it would be, but it was fantastic! My fiance told me these have to be a regular in our house!

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