The idea of something wrapped in lettuce does not on the face of it always sound like a main meal to me. But lately, I’ve been craving a concoction I first had at PF Chang’s, and made some this weekend.
My husband was pretty dubious about a food wrapped in lettuce. He didn’t say it, but I”m sure he thought: “Isn’t that salad?” But I think I made a convert this weekend.
If you’ve never had one, they’re pretty simple things. Bibb or Boston lettuce leaves are filled with marinated meats, veggies, crunchy things and topped with a savory sauce. You can be pretty flexible about what you put inside. The key is to making a sauce that has a lot of flavor that you like.
Places like PF Chang’s, The Cheesecake Factory and others serve these as appetizers, but I thought they worked well as part of a multi-plate meal (I also served up some stir-fry bok choy and a plate of my grandma’s-style fried rice), and would probably be fine eating just these for dinner. Actually, if I was more carefully watching what I ate, I would just have the wraps as meals. They’re relatively filling, and depending on what you put in them, they can be relatively fat-free.
So, like I said, the key is in sauce, something blending salty-sweet-savory-spicy. I’ve seen variations on Thai style chili and lime, various soy-based sauces and more. You just have to find what you like. I happen to love big ginger taste and Hoisin sauce, so below I’m offering up one to my tastes. I’m also including the marinade I used for the chicken.
Lettuce Wrap Sauce
3 Tbs bottled hoisin sauce
1 1/2 Tbs rice vinegar
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce (like Sriracha)
squirt of fresh lime juice
Whisk it all up and refrigerate about an hour to let the flavors meld.
Lettuce Wrap Chicken Marinade
2-4 chicken breasts
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp chili garlic sauce
2 tsp grated ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
dash of salt and pepper
Mix together all ingredients and pour into a plastic bag. Put in chicken breasts, coat well, squeeze out as much air as possible and marinate in the refrigerator for one hour.
In a hot skillet or wok, cook chicken breast , covered, about 4 minutes on each side (turning only once) until cooked through. Let breasts rest for about five minutes, then slice.