Saturday, February 5, 2011
Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Sometimes, the dishes that “Chinese” restaurants here in the United States come up with amaze me. They have completely altered the dishes to cater to the palates of Americans. When non-Chinese think of Chinese food, they probably think of General Tao’s chicken, Kung pao shrimp, or moo shu pork, although these dishes have undergone drastic changes since arriving in the States. American Chinese food is deep fried and coated in thick sugary sauces unlike real Chinese food, which is light, and heavily spiced. It’s difficult to find authentic Chinese cuisine here, even in Chinatown, which is why I like to make my own Chinese food from timeless recipes handed down by my grandmother (or nai nai).
Chicken lettuce wraps is one of those Americanized Chinese dishes. From my knowledge, this dish doesn’t even exist in China. I think that the idea came from something quite similar, which is made with duck. It is the second course in Peking duck—duck meat stir fried with veggies and coated in a special sauce. While chicken cannot compete with the deep flavor of duck, it makes for a nice substitution. I mean, which local supermarket sells duck?
Chicken lettuce wraps at restaurants can total up to 1000 calories, just as an appetizer. These chicken lettuce wraps come in at approximately 250 calories. They’re also full of deliteful veggies, which will make you feel more full with less because of the fiber. The crunch of the iceberg lettuce is so captivating you won’t want to stop eating. OmNomNom!
4 tsp oil
2 stalks scallions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced
2 carrots, sliced
¾ cup mushroom, diced
8 leaves iceberg lettuce
¼ cup hoisin sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp fish sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1. Heat up a wok or large frying pan and add 2 tsp oil, half the scallions, and the garlic. Let the flavors infuse for one minute and then add the chicken.
2. Stir-fry the chicken until cooked through. Drain, and set aside.
3. Heat up the frying pan again, and add 2 tsp oil, and then the carrots and mushrooms. Stir-fry for 3 minutes or until the carrots are cooked. Add in the reserved cooked chicken, all the sauces, and salt to taste.
4. Stir-fry for another few minutes so that everything combines nicely. Add the remainder of the scallions. Take the pan off the heat.
5. Spoon the mixture into lettuce leaves and serve.