Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps {Quick and Delish}

Asian Lettuce Wraps

These wraps. Oh, these wraps! How do I adequately convey their deliciousness?

Should I tell you that when my sis-in-law, Kylie, told me about them, she confessed they had eaten them twice in one week? Or should I alert you that after I made them, they haunted my dreams until I made them again (er, two days later)? Exaggeration = off. Promise.

They are so delicious, I’ve already made a specific note to Brian that these will be my birthday meal request this year. That’s saying a lot, because I love me a good birthday meal request and have been known to think (read: obsess) all year long about what I want to eat that day (come on, it only happens once a year!).

Will it further convince you of their tastiness if I add that if you put your game face on, you can have these ready to serve in 20 minutes. Do you hear angels singing? Do you?

The flavors are astounding. The crisp lettuce is the perfect vehicle for the refreshingly light chicken mixture and the rice is just a little bit of decadence in a very healthy meal.

I have made these, oh, I don’t know, probably 10 times in the last few months. And I’m still looking forward to them on my birthday next month. Major love. (And Major Smugness for providing you with such a healthy, actually-delicious meal this soon in the new year. Don’t worry, true diet failure coming next week. I am who I am, what can I say.)

Asian Lettuce Wraps

What To ServeAn Asian-inspired side salad like Asian Noodle Salad or this Asian Salad
Baked Southwest Egg Rolls with Creamy Chipotle Dipping Sauce
Fresh fruit

One Year Ago: Coconut Shrimp Curry
Two Years Ago: Pineapple Salsa Chicken {Slow Cooker}
Three Years Ago: Tortellini Spinach Salad with Balsamic-Tomato Vinaigrette
Four Years Ago: Quick and Delicious Clam Chowder

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps {Quick and Delish}

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup short grain rice (i.e. sushi rice), rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice plus 2 teaspoons fresh lime zest (from about 3-4 limes)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 jalapeno stemmed, seeded, and minced (leave in the seeds if you like more heat)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 12 Bibb or Boston lettuce leaves (about 1 head), washed

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and rice to a boil high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the rice from the heat and let sit, covered, until tender, another 10-15 minutes.
  2. Whisk the fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, and cornstarch together in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the chicken, jalapeno, 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.
  4. 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.

Notes:

Note: I love the texture of short grain rice for this recipe but if you’d rather use long grain rice (or any other rice you prefer, for that matter), that would work fine, too. The rice is basically there to sit in the bed of the lettuce and soak up all the delicious flavors and juices from the chicken mixture. Alternately, you could cut the carbs and serve without rice. Lean ground turkey could easily be subbed for the ground chicken. Also, if you can’t find fresh basil readily (if it is off-season), use 1-2 teaspoons dried basil and add it when you cook the chicken with the jalapeno and lime zest.

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Recipe Source: adapted slightly from America’s Test Kitchen Light and Healthy 2010