Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Chinese lettuce wraps with accompaniments

I am not sure if this dish exists in China in this form. Regardless, it’s an excellent adaptation, and a brilliant dinner, when you want to go easy on the stomach, and it takes very little time to pull together.  I have only ever seen recipes for this in Western cookbooks for Chinese food, and several of them use ready minced chicken. Although that’s an easy option, I would honestly not recommend that. I have tried it in the past, and ready minced chicken is too finely ground and ends up being pasty.  Also using only chicken thighs keeps the meat moist.

Most of the food cupboard ingredients are easy to obtain and you will have most in stock. The exception is water chestnuts – it’s worth seeking a tin of these as they add a lovely crunch and juiciness to the recipe. I also happened to have some carrots in the fridge so added those for more crunch.

My recipe is primarily based on one by America’s Test Kitchen, and I think it works really well. I have made a few changes and like to add some crunchy roasted peanuts to the lettuce wrap whilst serving as well as some Sriracha.  If you haven’t heard of Sriracha, please do hunt it down – it’s a Thai inspired chilli sauce, like a more aromatic and less hot version of a hot sauce.  Else another hot sauce like Tabasco would also add a nice kick.

You could serve it with some rice to make it more substantial.

Note: If you buy the meat with skin, do turn the skin into crispy chicharron (see tab on waste not) – someone in the house will be grateful!

Print Recipe
Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 15 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Chicken:
Sauce:
Stir-fry & serve:
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 15 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Chicken:
Sauce:
Stir-fry & serve:
Instructions
The chicken & sauce:
  1. The chicken: Place chicken pieces on large plate in single layer. Freeze meat until firm and starting to harden around edges, about 20 minutes.
  2. Whisk rice wine, soy sauce, oil, and cornflour together in a bowl. Pulse the meat in a food processor until coarsely chopped into 1⁄4” to 1/8-” pieces, about 10 pulses. Transfer chicken to the bowl with rice wine mixture & toss chicken to coat and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  3. For the sauce - Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl; set aside.
Stir-fry & to serve:
  1. Drain the tin of water chestnuts, rinse and chop into small cubes, about 1/4".
  2. To stir-fry: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large wok or frying pan over high heat until smoking. Add chicken and cook, stirring constantly, until opaque, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and wipe out the pan.
  3. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the now empty pan over high heat until smoking. Add celery and mushrooms; cook, stirring constantly, until mushrooms have reduced in size by half and celery is crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add water chestnuts, spring onion whites and garlic; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk sauce to recombine. Return chicken to skillet; add sauce and toss to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  4. Serve with lettuce, hoisin sauce, spring onion greens and roasted peanuts.
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