If you know me personally, you know I love Mexican food, specifically tacos, and anything saucy. You also know I love Asian cuisine. So if you make something that eats like a taco and has Asian flavors, I’M DOWN. There’s a restaurant in MA called Bernard’s which has the most awesome chicken lettuce wraps. The recipe below is my version; adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Good cookbook, with Bernards in mind.
Asian Inspired Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- A couple teaspoons of any other neutral flavor oil (canola, sunflower, etc)
- 1 large yellow onion, minced
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced (for this recipe, I like to use the elephant garlic- the cloves are very large!)
- 1/2" knob of ginger, peeled and minced
- 1-1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs, whatever your preference, diced
- Kosher salt + freshly cracked ground pepper
- 1 cup of homemade hoisin sauce
- 1 red bell pepper, half diced and half julienned
- 2 medium carrots, half diced and half julienned
- 4 celery hearts, diced and separated
- 4-5 scallions, chopped, for your platter
- 12 large and crisp romaine lettuce leaves*
In a sauté pan over medium low heat, add your oil, onion, ginger and garlic. Let these cook together around the pan for about 3-5 minutes, until the onions start softening up a little. Make sure to stir so the garlic and ginger don't burn. Add in your diced carrots, 2 of the celery hearts that you diced, and diced red pepper. Add your chopped chicken and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper (about 1 or 2 teaspoons of salt). Cook until the chicken is no longer raw, about 5-10 minutes, giving the chicken a stir or two during the time to ensure even cooking. Plus, I get fidgety and like to stir things. When the chicken is cooked, add your homemade hoisin sauce + about 1/3 cup of water. Bring to a simmer and let simmer for 5-10 minutes to bring the flavors together.
Grab a large platter and arrange your julienned carrots, julienned peppers, and remaining chopped celery alongside your rinsed and crisp romaine lettuce leaves. Place your chicken mixture in a bowl. Have your guests make their own lettuce wraps and have an interactive dinner.
* A note about the romaine. This lettuce is hearty but very crispy. Your best bet is to place the chicken mixture alongside the rib of the leaf, and fold the soft part over and then eat like a taco. I prefer romaine because of the crunch, however, you can also use bibb or boston lettuce for a softer wrap.