Spicy Asian Lettuce Wraps

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I love lettuce cups or wraps.  When I go out to dinner,  I’m the only one at the table usually that orders it.  I don’t know why.  Maybe when people order an appetizer, they are looking to be naughty and order the calorie rich lobster bisque, supreme nachos, crab dip or something similar.  Maybe lettuce wraps are too “salady” and you don’t want an appetizer salad to be followed by an actual salad.  I’m just at such a loss because these are amazingly good, yet pretty “healthy”, for an appetizer.

I started this blog to push myself outside my comfort zone and make food for dinner that is simple, healthy, and different.  Keep the same old, same old to a minimum.  This is the first time I’ve made this recipe and I was really pleased with it.  Very easy to make, extremely good. The dish is sweet with a hint of spicy and great Asian flavor, wrapped in crunchy lettuce. After grating the ginger and mincing the garlic, my husband said that whatever I was cooking smelled delicious!   Your kitchen will smell amazing as this is cooking.  There aren’t too many odd ingredients and the whole dish is fairly low carb, if you care about that.  As a bonus, both the kids and my husband loved it!!

The recipe was inspired by Mark Masumoto’s recipe on the PBS website: http://www.pbs.org/food/fresh-tastes/spicy-chicken-lettuce-cups/  PBS is  one of the few channels that features people actually cooking with real ingredients.

Spicy Asian Lettuce Wraps
Serves 4-6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

2 heads iceberg or butter leaf lettuce
2 pounds ground chicken (you can also use ground pork or crumbled firm tofu)
4 tablespoons hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoons corn starch
2 teaspoons Sriracha
1/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil
5 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons finely minced ginger
5 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 scallions, sliced thin
1 avocado, diced
1/4 cup cilantro
1 carrot, shredded

Remove leaves from head of lettuce, rinse and dry. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine ground chicken, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, corn starch, and Sriracha. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat oil. Add garlic and ginger to the hot oil and cook until they begin to turn light brown. Add mushrooms and salt. Cook until the mushrooms begin to get soft (you may need to add more oil to prevent sticking if you don’t use a nonstick pan). Add the chicken mixture to the pan. Cook until the chicken is cooked through, using a wooden spoon to cut the chicken into small pieces as it cooks.

Assemble lettuce wraps by adding the meat to a lettuce leaf and top with scallions, avocado, cilantro, and carrots.

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