Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Asian-Style Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Asian-Style Chicken Lettuce Wraps are a delicious low-carb and gluten-free dish full of fabulous flavours and fresh Asian-inspired ingredients. Also known as Chopped Rainbow in Crystal Fold, it was one of the house specialties at the Pink Pearl on Avenue Road, before it closed its doors a number of years ago — crystal fold is the poetic Chinese term for lettuce, and chopped rainbow is the term for a colourful meat mixture. Designed to be enjoyed taco-style, minced chicken, pork or beef are stir-fried with diced water chestnuts, mushrooms, onions and garlic, then cooked in a fragrant soy, brown sugar and rice wine vinegar sauce. Served on a large platter with crisp iceberg lettuce leaves and an aromatic Asian pouring sauce on the side, Chopped Rainbow in Crystal Fold is as healthy and delicious to feast on as it is fun to eat.

Asian-Style Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Serves 4

Asian pouring sauce:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm water
2 tbsp tamari or regular soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp hot water
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced

Stir-fry sauce:
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp rice wine vinegar

Chicken stir-fry:
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 lb ground chicken, turkey, beef, pork or even Peking Duck
1 8oz can sliced water chestnuts, minced to the size of corn kernals
1/2 cup cremini mushrooms, minced to the size of corn kernals
1/2 onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, minced fine

2 scallions, cleaned and chopped finely for garnish
6 large leaves of iceberg lettuce

For the pouring sauce, dissolve sugar in 1/2 cup warm water in a small bowl, then add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice and sesame oil. Mix well and chill in the fridge until you’re ready to eat. Just before serving, combine 1 teaspoons hot water with dijon mustard and garlic and mix in a small bowl. Add to the pouring sauce, 1/2 a teaspoon at time to taste.

Prep the stir fry sauce by mixing soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar in a small bowl. Then begin the stir-fry by combining the oils in a wok or large frying pan over high heat until it glistens, about one minute. Add the ground meat and sautĂ© until it's mostly cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Turn the heat down to medium-high. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, wait one minute, and then add garlic, onions, water chestnuts, mushrooms, and the stir-fry sauce that was prepared earlier. Stir-fry everything until the mushrooms are cooked through, about 4 minutes, and then place in a serving dish. Garnish with chopped scallions and serve with iceberg lettuce leaf wraps and bowl of pouring sauce on the side. This makes a great appetizer or first course for an Asian inspired dinner.