Lettuce Wraps and My Niche

RECIPE: Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Me: I think I’ve figured out what my cooking niche is.

You: Oh yeah? Um, you’ve been contributing to this blog for seven months already and you just figured out your niche? Clever.

Me: I feel like insulting my intelligence is counter-productive at this juncture.

You: Don’t be so sensitive. What’s this niche you’re newly claiming?

Me: Sorry. It’s been a tough week. I’m participating in NaNoWriMo and today is day three of writing 2000+ words. The entire project has already been an all-out assault on my ego and desire to remain awake at any given moment. Turns out writing that much every day is exhausting.

You: You know, it’s hard to really feel sorry for you about this crap. You’re in a prison of your own creation, you realize. No one’s twisting your arm to constantly take on these ridiculously time consuming and strenuous hobbies in addition to your already busy normal life. In fact, I have this feeling your husband has probably begged you to knock it the hell off on more than one occasion.

Me: Ok, Ok, I’m done whining. It’s fun and I love it. Geesh. No pity at all for an OCD gal with an excessive amount of ridiculous hobbies, huh? Anyway. Back to my niche.

You: Yes. Waiting with bated breath.

Me: My new specialty is going to be (drum roll, please…): taking super awesome, but excessively complicated and time consuming recipes and paring them down to fast and doable for weeknight dinner, but still yummy. It’s not a particularly concise niche, like: Thai food, or something, but there you have it.

You: So… your niche is half-assing stuff?

Me: Well when you put it like that it’s less eloquent.

You: So like Martha Stewart is known for doing things from scratch and having the best recipes for things to turn out perfectly, you’re going to be known for figuring out which of her perfectly sculpted corners you can lop off to save time?

Me: You’re kind of taking the shine off it a little bit.

You: I’m pretty sure Rachel Ray already owns that niche.

Me: Ahem! Moving on to today’s recipe.

You: This better be good, that intro was kind of deflating.

Me: It is! You know how you get the lettuce wraps at P.F. Changs and that’s like all you want to eat the rest of your life? Well a few years ago I looked around online and found one of those pirated ‘make your favorite restaurant food at home recipes’ for them and made them for Jason for Valentine’s Day. They were fabulous, but insanely time consuming. And even worse, they involved chopping up the raw chicken in the food processor, which almost makes me barf just thinking about it.

You: It’s a bad idea to talk about barf when you’re trying to convince people you’re a good cook.

Me: Sorry. Anyway, I decided this week that I wanted lettuce wraps, but in a mostly uncomplicated manner. AND I FIGURED IT OUT. Booyah!

You: Booyah’s not a thing just because Kelli and Adam say it on Twitter.

Me: You are so mean today!

You: OK, sorry. I do like lettuce wraps.

Me: You are going to LOVE these! The key is buying ground chicken. Also, it turns out you can pretty much mix any Asian sauces together in whatever combination/amount you want and they’re still pretty good.

You: I’m losing some faith in you here. Wrap it up.

Me: AND healthy too!

You: That’s good. End on a high note.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Recipe type: Dinner
Author: Elizabeth
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 25 mins
Serves: 5
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 small package dried shitake mushrooms (2.5 oz)
  • 1/2 a can of water chestnuts, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Head of living butter lettuce
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 cups of white rice, prepared
  • Sriracha sauce (if you like it hot)
  • For Marinade:
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • For Basic Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • For Additional Sweet/Spicy Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Hoison sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Ponzu sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  1. Rehydrate mushrooms in a cup of hot water for 2 minutes. Dice.
  2. Mix chicken, mushrooms, water chestnuts, garlic and marinade ingredients. Set aside to marinate for 15 minutes.
  3. Saute chicken mixture in a large pan on medium high until cooked through.
  4. Combine ingredients for two sauces separately.
  5. Serve chicken in a lettuce leaf with one or both sauces drizzled over top and garnished with green onions. Serve rice with sauces also.

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