It’s been crazy hot here this week. My kids started school Tuesday and it was 104 degrees and rained all morning. That is very atypical for this area and everyone’s freaking out. I spent enough years in Chicago to know that it won’t kill me and I just have to wait it out either at the pool or in some form of air conditioning and thank the good Lord that I don’t live in Yuma or Pheonix where it’s this hot more often than not. What I also know is that life goes on and my family has to eat so we have been eating “hot weather food” all week and last night I threw together some fresh and delicious Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps that I would like to share.
I really enjoy cooking Asian food. It always includes a lot of vegetables and fresh flavors and involves a lot of chopping and prepping which I like. I love to have a slough of prep bowls full of sauces and finely chopped ingredients. I don’t know why…it makes me feel competent somehow. There’s also a lot of vegetarian options in Asian cooking and I get the same endorphin release from eating a pile of vegetables that I imagine the average meat lover gets from a steak. It just makes me soooo happy!
My kids came home from school and my husband whisked them off to our community pool for a cool down so I poured a frosty beverage, turned on my Josh Radin radio station on Pandora, and got to chopping. Here’s what I did:
Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps
1 Tbsp. canola oil
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 pounds chicken finely chopped (I used 1 lb. thighs and 1 lb. breasts for a little variety)
1 8 oz. package mushrooms finely chopped (I used button because that’s all I had, but shitake would be delicious)
1/4 cup soy sauce (I always use low sodium soy sauce – I’m a cardiac nurse, after all)
2 tsp sesame oil
4 scallions chopped, white and green parts
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Use a large skillet. I have an All Clad saute pan that was a splurge well worth the money. For my family of 5, I can cook a ton of food in there at once and it can be transferred to the oven for warming or whatever else you want to do with it. I have the least fancy of the pots and pans they make and they’re still amazing.
Heat the canola oil in the pan and when it’s very hot, add the garlic and stir for about 3o seconds or so, being careful not to let it burn. Add the chicken, mushrooms, and ginger and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, and scallions and cook for another few minutes. Turn off the heat and add the lemon zest and cilantro. Stir it up and serve with large lettuce pieces. You can use Boston or Iceberg. Use one that has large, sturdy leaves. Wrap the chicken up in it like a taco or burrito and enjoy!
I served this with basic fried rice, steamed sugar snap peas, and crunchy chow mein noodles for the kiddies. I made a simple sauce with soy sauce, sesame oil, and ginger. It was a great hot day dinner and my kids ate it up. The leftover chicken got packed in their bento boxes for lunch the next day with plain rice molded into shapes for fun. I haven’t gotten the feedback on that yet. Stay tuned…
I only have one semi-lame photo because I had an altercation with my chef’s knife right before plating. I am half a fingernail lighter but thankful I still have my whole finger.