3tablespoonsfresh lime juice plus 2 teaspoons fresh lime zest, from about 3-4 limes
1 ½tablespoonsbrown sugar
2teaspoonsvegetable or canola oil
1jalapeno stemmed, seeded, and minced (leave in the seeds if you like more heat)
¼cupchopped fresh basil
3green onions, finely chopped
12Bibb or Boston lettuce leaves, about 1 head, washed
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.
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 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.
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.
Rice: 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. Meat: lean ground turkey could easily be subbed for the ground chicken. Basil: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.