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!