"Tell me and I'll forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I'll understand." -Chinese proverb
Not that Chicken stir-fry lettuce cups are authentically Chinese, but they are in the spirit of Chinese cuisine.You may have had them at the popular restaurant, P.F. Chang's. My local Chinese eatery, South China Restaurant in Fort Collins (the best!!), has a version that is to die for. Ming Lee, the chef-owner, serves them with a very unique orange sauce that I wish I knew how to make. So delicious!
You can finds lots of recipes for Chicken Lettuce cups on-line; this is mine. It is a featured recipe in my e-cookbook on poultry which you can find here. My kids love this dish and I have made it for groups of their friends always to rave reviews (they don't even know it is full of mushrooms). It is fun to serve it family style and let everyone personalize their cups with the toppings they prefer. I know ground chicken isn't always easy to find. If you have a nice butcher he or she may be happy to grind it for you to order. I will caution you that if you decide to substitute ground turkey for the chicken, the taste will not be the same. When made with chicken the dish tastes is lighter and cleaner. Don't be put off by the long-ish ingredient list. The trick is to have everything ready to go. It comes together very quickly once the prep is complete.
Asian Chicken Stir-Fry Lettuce Cups- serves 4 (or more for appetizers)
1 pound ground chicken breast
2 port0bello mushrooms, stemmed and gills removed, minced (I use a food processor)
2 Tablespoons Tamari (gluten-free soy sauce) or low sodium soy sauce
4 scallions, sliced very thinly, white and some of the green parts, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/3 cup shredded carrot
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon peeled and minced fresh ginger (I use a microplane to mince)
2 teaspoons oyster sauce (this brand is gluten free according to the manufacturer)
juice from half an orange
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
2 Tablespoons coconut or light olive oil
Sliced toasted almonds
Asian Sweet Chili Sauce ( this brand is gluten free)
Fresh radishes, cut into thin matchsticks (I use a mandoline)
whole lettuce leaves for serving chicken (butter and iceberg work well)
See all these yummy fresh ingredients that are about to become your dinner?!!
1. In a medium bowl, combine the ground chicken, 4 sliced scallions, cornstarch and Tamari sauce. Marinate the ingredients for 10 minutes.
2. In the meantime, arrange the lettuce leaves on a large platter. Pour the chili sauce into a ramekin and place on platter. Place all the other garnishes (almonds, radishes, green onion and cilantro) into individual ramekins and arrange on platter, leaving room for the chicken mixture once it's done.
3. Over medium-high heat 2 tablespoons of coconut or other oil in a skillet or wok, if you have one. When it is hot but not smoking, stir in minced mushrooms. Stir-fry mushrooms 15-20 seconds. Stir in carrots, red pepper flakes, garlic, ginger and stir-fry another 15 seconds.
4. Add in chicken mixture and cook, stirring often, until browned and cooked through, being sure to crumble it up as you cook it. You want a very small texture, not big chunks. Stir in orange juice, 2 tablespoons cilantro and oyster sauce. Cook 30 seconds more.
5. Remove chicken from heat and spoon onto your serving platter.
6. To serve, spoon some chicken mixture into your lettuce cup and top with desired garnishes. Eat immediately!
If you are looking for more delicious poultry recipes, please take a look at my e-cookbook on Amazon!
"I suppose there are people who can pass up free guacamole, but they are either allergic to avocados or too joyless to live. " -Frank Bruni
Oh, guacamole, how do I love thee? I grew up in upstate New York, not far from the Vermont border. Mexican and southwestern-inspired cuisine was not part of the landscape in the 70's. Fast forward 22 years, I found myself living in Southern California after college. California, it seemed, was the epicenter of Mexican food to this Northeastern gal. There at El Torito Grill near South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California, I discovered guacamole. At El Torito Grill at the time, they served fresh, warm tortillas with guacamole, made fresh at the table. I could have made a meal just out of that. It was soooo good! The restaurant is no longer there, and I now live in Colorado. Thankfully, watching them prepare the guac table-side all those times gave me a good idea how to make a great guacamole. I have been making it this way ever since. Healthy fat and chock full of freshness, I can't think of a better snack to have on hand for this weekend's Super Bowl 50. Of course, these measurements are just suggestions. Once you make it yourself, you may want to adjust them to your liking. Heck, you may even want to add diced mango to yours (no kidding, it's amazing) !
4 ripe Haas avocados, halved, pit removed
2 Tablespoons minced red onion
2 Tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
Half a Roma Tomato, seeds removed
half of a jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced
juice of 1 lime
1/8-1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
Tortilla chips and/or veggie sticks for serving
1. Assemble all your ingredients- so fresh and good!
2. With a spoon, scoop out the flesh of 7 of the eight avocado halves into a bowl. Dice the flesh of the remaining avocado; set aside.
3. Coarsely mash the avocado in the bowl with a fork, leaving it somewhat chunky (texture is a good thing).
4. Gently fold in 1/8 teaspoon salt, red onion, reserved avocado pieces, tomato, jalapeno pepper, garlic, lime juice and cilantro. Taste for salt and lime juice ( I always use a tortilla chip to taste since the salt on the chip will play into the salt factor). Adjust to suit your taste.
5. Transfer guacamole to a serving bowl and serve with chips or veggie sticks (or on turkey sandwiches or burgers....you get the idea). If made a few hours ahead, press plastic wrap directly on top of guacamole and refrigerate. The lime juice will prevent browning for a few hours.
Doesn't this make your mouth water?! Hurry- go buy your avocados so they have time to ripen, before it's too late! ♥
P.S. If you are interested in a good chili for game day, check out my recipe for White Chicken Chile and My Favorite Turkey Chili. Either (or both) would sure to be a hit and can simmer in your crockpot!