I’m not embarrassed to admit that these lettuce chicken wraps, the first course of our dinner party the other night, were inspired by a dish we had at P.F. Chang’s, the seemingly ubiquitous chain Chinese restaurant. Slightly sweet, slightly spicy, with a bit of crunch, these chicken wraps were not only delicious but fun to make. For our version, we chose butter lettuce leaves (sturdy enough to hold the fillings, but flexible enough to wrap), finely chopped and spiced chicken, minced radish and cucumber, and a tangy, spicy sauce.
As our friends mingled over cocktails, we brought out a big platter with bowls of “fixins” and let our guests assemble their own wraps- an instant icebreaker! Take a butter lettuce leaf, add a couple of spoonfuls of the chicken mixture, a few slivers of the veggies, and a dollop of the sauce and then wrap it all up. Yes, our hands got a little messy and we used a whole lot of napkins, but these wraps were a delicious start to the evening. And best of all, because the wrap was a lettuce leaf rather than a tortilla, they left plenty of the room for the additional courses to come. Yum!
For the chicken:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp cornstarch
For the dipping sauce:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp dijon mustard
For the veggies:
1/2 cucumber, finely chopped
1/2 bunch of radishes, finely chopped
1 head of butter lettuce, wash, leaves pulled off
1. Chop chicken breasts extra fine. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Whisk together 1 1/2 tbsp oil and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Marinate chicken in mixture for 10 minutes.
3. Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in a wok, stir-fry the chicken until slightly underdone. Remove from heat.
4. Meanwhile, put all of sauce ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well mixed.
5. Put chicken mixture, veggies, and sauce in their own serving bowls and place on large platter. Surround bowls with the lettuce leaves and serve.