Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

So James and I have been trying to find healthier options for our during the week dining and last night, I took some cues from a few restaurant dishes I've had in the past to create an interactive meal with under 600 calories in a full 3-wrap serving.  There are quite a few components that go into these wraps, but I promise, it's something anyone can put together.  I'm going to break the recipe down into nine parts to make it more manageable.  

1.  Take one head of Boston lettuce, trim the base and separate the leaves.  Take the larger, outer leaves and reserve them for your wraps.  You can use the hearts of the lettuce for a salad later on (no reason to waste anything).

2.  Heat 3 cups of water in a sauce pan until just before it comes to a boil.  Submerge 1/2 package of cellophane noodles (these are available in the Asian section of your supermarket) in the water.  Soak the noodles for 3 minutes.  Once they're soft, use a pair of kitchen scissors to trim them to a manageable length (I like to cut them into thirds).  Transfer the noodles to a strainer and rinse with cold water.  Drain thoroughly and set aside.

3.  Take 6 chicken tenderloins and lightly season them with salt and pepper.  Grill them to 165 degrees in the center (take care not to overcook them, no one likes dry chicken).  Remove them from the heat and place in the refrigerator to cool.  Once chilled, dice the chicken into 1/2 cubes and toss with 1 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp pressed ginger juice (or finely ground ginger) and 3 tbsp soy sauce.  You want to serve the chicken just cooler than room temperature so if you put it back in the refrigerator be sure to take it out prior to dining to allow it to warm up a bit. 

4.  Take 1/2 of a red and 1/2 of an orange bell pepper and slice them into 1 inch long narrow strips.  Slice 2 stalks of lemongrass and soak in warm water for 30 minutes.  Toss your peppers in 3 tbsp of the lemongrass water and set them aside.

5.  Take 2 medium size carrots, peel and shave them into julienne strips (or you can cheat a little bit and use 1/2 a bag of matchstick carrots).  Place them in a bowl with 2 tbsp of Sambal Olek pepper sauce and 2 tbsp yuzu (a savory, almost citrusy Asian sauce).  Stir them well as to coat every strip of carrot.

6.  Peel 3 baby Persian cucumbers (you can use regular English cucumbers but you will need to de-seed them).  Slice them on a bias into thin strips.  Toss them in a bowl with 2 tbsp soy sauce and sprinkle them with black and white sesame seeds.

7.  Tear 8 fresh basil leaves into quarters and set aside. 

8.  Take 1/2 cup of pea shoots and slice into 2 inch cuts.

9.  In a saucepan, combine 3 tbsp creamy salted peanut butter, 1/2 cup of chopped unsalted cashews, 2 tbsp yuzu, 4 tbsp soy sauce, 3 tbsp Hoisin sauce, 2 tbsp dry vermuth and 1 finely chopped garlic clove.  Melt the peanut butter and add all liquid ingredients.  Simmer together for 8 minutes, stirring frequently.  This is your peanut sauce for the wraps.

Now that all of your components are assembled, all you have to do is combine them in your lettuce leaves to create your wraps.  You can portion each of the ingredients however you like based on which flavor profiles you prefer.  I tend to go a little heavy on the carrots and cucumbers which gives the wrap a nice amount of heat and also counterbalances it with the coolness of the cucumber.  Whichever balance your decide upon... happy wrapping!

No comments:

Post a Comment