Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Lettuce Wraps

I love cooking Asian food. There are some important flavors that the majority of Asian foods require (at least at my house).

-Sesame oil
-soy sauce and/or Teriyaki sauce
-Hosin sauce

Lettuce wraps are pretty versatile- you can add pretty much any meat (or no meat) and whatever veggies you have on hand and as long as you chop everything about the same (small) size and season it properly they'll taste great. I feel pretty good about serving Asian food to my family since it's so full of veggies. Tonight I WoWed some chicken lettuce wraps and they got rave reviews from my toughest critics.

This is what I started with. Chicken breasts (I was in a hurry- so I used some leftover chicken from tacos two nights ago and supplemented it with frozen chicken breast pieces. Also, Yoshida sauce, a yellow and a red pepper, zucchini, green onions, thai sweet chili sauce, red pepper flakes, garlic, ginger and tonight I added leftover brown rice, millet and red quinoa. Of course lettuce for the 'wrap' part. Usually I use romaine lettuce- but I've found that really iceberg works best for these.

These are really easy to make- but the chopping does take some time. I enlisted the help of Megan (okay- she begged me) to chop the chicken. Little side note- my kids BEG to help in the kitchen. I have speed and perfection issues when it comes to cooking and really struggle with letting them help. Megan usually has chicken issues- but after chopping the chicken tonight she was so excited to eat the food she helped make. I need to 'let go' more often. She really did a good job with it though- and even used a sharp knife!

The key is to cut the veggies/meat to the same size.

I decided to add some red onion as well. Also I poured the Yoshida sauce over the cut up chicken so it would absorb some flavor before cooking (also I had to cover up the taco seasoning). I also sprinkled it with ginger. If you have fresh ginger I suggest using that- but I didn't have any so I substituted with powdered ginger.

Look how pretty it looks in the pan!

Now of course you can make these without the grains- but these whole grains will fill you up and make it so your kids aren't begging for food 20 minutes after you finish dinner. Also- they're delicious!

I started with some Sesame Oil, heated it until it was liquid- then added the garlic, veggies and stir fried them until they were tender- then I added the chicken and grains and some more ginger and Yoshida sauce. I also added Hosin sauce.

When I first started experimenting with Asian food other then stir fry (which is one of my favorites still) it took me lots of searching and finally going to a specialty grocery store to find Hosin Sauce. Now it's relatively easy to find in the Asian section of most grocery stores.


Simply fill a lettuce leaf with some filling, roll like a taco and enjoy!

The critics say:
Ashley- "I'd give them five thumbs up if I had five thumbs!"
Megan- "These are the best! Can we have leftovers for lunch tomorrow?"
Annika (who wouldn't eat it as a wrap- but ate a couple pieces of plain lettuce and then the filling with a fork)- motioned two thumbs up.
Cori- Motioned two thumbs up- after she saw her sisters do it- but she ate three wraps.


P.S. We had our wraps with cherries.


Nurse Heidi said...

Yum! I was just pondering what to make for dinner, and lettuce wraps will hit the spot. I also have an abundance of zucchini to create with.

I was raised on whole grain everything. I have to say that I didn't appreciate quinoa and millet as a kid, but I like the idea of sneaking it in to other foods instead of making it the centerpiece. It takes a bit of time to get used to eating and cooking with whole grains.

My parents make multigrain pancakes and waffles by dumping all sorts of grains into their wheat grinder. Last time I watched them, the pancakes had 8 different grains in them. My mom also grinds up white beans to make bean flour to thicken soups. Just another couple of ideas for you.

Amber said...

Those are some great ideas Heidi! Thanks. Did you enjoy the lettuce wraps?

Ambrosia said...

I can't wait to try these lettuce wraps!

Ambrosia said...

We just had these tonight! YUMMY! I LOVE that I have another way to use quinoa and an asian inspired dish to add to our recipe rotation. My 9.5 mos old and 3 yr old gobbled them up, my 5 yr old was reserved at first but ate the whole wrap up after giving it a try. Thanks again!