THERE’S A THEME HERE. Apparently I like to cook (and eat) (and share) Asian-inspired recipes. Maybe it’s because they’re quick to prepare? Or maybe it’s because I tend to have most of the ingredients on hand anyways? Or maybe it’s because I live in the woods and this is the first time in my LIFE I haven’t been able to order Chinese food over the phone and had it delivered to my door? Seriously. They even delivered to the 4th floor of the FHK coed dorms on the Texas A&M University campus. Just ask my roommate. Mama doesn’t mess around.
OK I’ll back up. I took some time off from writing anything. I had a little bit of a block, combined with laziness, combined with getting out orders before my trip to New York City. And then I had my week-long trip to NYC. OHHHHHHHH New York. The people, the chaos, the FOOD. I had some incredible food. The Homemade Tagliatelle Carbonara at Coppola’s Restaurant is to die for. It’s HOMEMADE, I say!!! FRESH made noodles + Italian bacon + alfredo sauce? Yes please. Then we took a little trip to Chinatown to visit Joe’s Shanghai and try the famous soup dumplings. Want some tips? 1. DO try the pork dumplings. 2. DON’T plan on paying with anything except cash. 3. Bring a whole army to feed. An ARMY, I say!!! I’m feeling very loud today. You’re welcome. And last, our beautiful little hotel. We stayed at the Park South Hotel and ignorantly did not realize the gem of a restaurant that was right above our heads until Day 6 of our trip. <Insert head slap here.> Covina Bar & Restaurant has one of the best burgers in New York City (say WHAT?!) and house-milled pasta (I know!!). I had the House Milled Farro Cavatelli and it made me want to punch somebody. That’s a good thing.
Suffice it to say, I left the big city with an expanded belly and lots of inspiration. Plus, after a solid week of eating out every. single. meal., I was ready to get back in the kitchen. This leads to last night’s dinner: Chicken Lettuce Wraps (a la P.F. Chang’s, or a la Pei Wei, for those of us on a budget). I didn’t have Butter Lettuce, so I subbed in Romaine. Shockingly enough, my 3 year old Copy Cat ate his in a lettuce wrap too!
I found the original recipe on damndelicious.net, but I thought I’d make a few small tweaks. This is a clean(er) version, as I generally try to clean up other recipes I find (mostly so I don’t feel as guilty about that second helping).
Cleaner Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound ground chicken (or extra lean ground turkey)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 3 tablespoons liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha, optional but recommended!
- 1 (8-ounce) can whole water chestnuts, drained and diced
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 head butter lettuce (or Romaine like pictured)
- Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add ground chicken and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the chicken as it cooks; drain excess fat.
- Stir in garlic, onion, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger and Sriracha until onions have become translucent, about 1-2 minutes.
- Stir in chestnuts and green onions until tender, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- To serve, spoon several tablespoons of the chicken mixture into the center of a lettuce leaf, taco-style.
Make it! Eat it! Love it! Share it!