Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

OK, I decided I need to make up for leading astray any of you who are struggling to keep New Year’s diet resolutions.  Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

To make amends, I am posting this frantastic recipe from America’s Test Kitchen Light and Healthy 2010 via Mel’s Kitchen Café.  Mel raved about the recipe; and, since she has never steered me wrong, I knew it had to be a winner—and it certainly was!  It’s not as often as we’d like that a recipe is amazingly delicious and healthy to boot.

Take just one bite of this wrap, and you will experience a veritable explosion of flavors.  You sauté ground chicken with jalapeño and lime.  Then you pour the delicious marinade over it consisting of fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, and cornstarch.  The ingredients combine to make a mouthwatering sensory extravaganza.  I will admit to the fact that the wraps are somewhat messy to eat—so, don’t invite the boss over unless he or she is a casual kind of person.  How messy are they?  Well, I could have easily wiped my fingers after each bite—but the wrap was so good that I didn’t want to take the time to put it down.  So, I finished the whole thing and then licked my fingers!  Why waste all that delicious flavor on a napkin?

One year ago:  Green Smoothie

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps


  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup short grain rice (i.e. sushi rice), rinsed (I used basmati rice—jasmine or even long grain would be fine to use as a substitute.  The rice just acts as a foil to sop up the delicious juices from the chicken mixture.)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbl. fish sauce
  • 1 tbl. reduced-sodium soy sauce (I didn’t have reduced-sodium soy sauce, so I cut down to 2 tsp. of regular soy sauce.)
  • 3 tbl. fresh lime juice plus 1 tsp. fresh lime zest (from about 2 limes)
  • 1 1/2 tbl. brown sugar (lightly measure—do not pack)
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 pound ground chicken (ground turkey is a good substitute)
  • 2 tsp. vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 jalapeño stemmed, seeded, and minced (leave in the seeds if you like more heat)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 6 or so Bibb or Boston lettuce leaves, washed
  • Cashews, chopped for sprinkling over chicken mixture (optional)


Follow the directions to cook the cup of rice according to package directions.  Once cooked, set aside.

Whisk the fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, and cornstarch together in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat the oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the chicken, jalapeño, and lime zest and cook, breaking up the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until the chicken is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

Whisk the fish sauce/lime mixture to recombine; add it to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce has thickened, a minute or two.  Off the heat, stir in the fresh basil and scallions.  To serve, open up a lettuce leaf, place a small scoop of rice on the bed of lettuce and top with some of the warm chicken mixture.

Fran’s Notes

The number of lettuce wraps you will get out of this recipe depends on how large the lettuce leaves are and how much chicken mixture you add to them.  Roger and I each had two wraps, but we were generous with our portions.  We had enough left over to make another generous portion.  (We’re going to fight over who gets to have it for lunch!)  If you are making this for more than two people, you should plan on doubling the recipe.  Even making it for just me and Roger, I plan to double it next time because I would have loved more leftovers!

After I took photos and sat down to eat these delicious wraps, I remembered that I had a bag of cashews which I thought would go particularly well sprinkled over the chicken mixture.  They did—it was a very tasty addition, and I highly recommend them.

Source:  Adapted from another delicious recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Café

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