The ‘Gate Plate Presents: Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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Kristin Miquel

Kristen Miquel, Maroon-News Staff

The ‘Gate Plate

Simple and scrumptious recipes for college students

I happened to stumble upon lettuce wraps by a coincidental circumstance — Whole Foods had run out of taco shells. At the peak of quarantine in April, it seemed that families in the greater Boston area had taken to “Taco Tuesday,” leaving slim to no options for tortillas in the local supermarkets. However, my initial aggravation quickly turned into inspiration when I passed the produce section and laid my eyes on the freshly washed butter lettuce. The crisp green leaves stood out and seemed to be calling my name. After grabbing a few packages, I raced around the grocery store in search of other ingredients in an attempt to create a new dish stemming from the lettuce base. I loved nothing more than roaming the grocery store, exploring all of the options I could find to create a dish that was truly memorable and just as delicious as tacos.

One of my favorite things about coming home from school is the ability to utilize both the extra time for leisure activities and my fully equipped home kitchen! Once finals are over, the days of break stretch out far and long, and though I find myself missing my friends and even classes, channeling my efforts into cooking can be an excellent source of entertainment and a great way to express my culinary creativity. Reuniting with home friends and family and sharing meals with those you love continue to be a part of the trend, even though we are not congregating in the town of Hamilton or cooking in the college kitchen. With the burden of school-related responsibilities gone, creative cooking becomes easier!

The Thai Chicken Lettuce Wrap recipe for this week, inspired by my grocery store faux-pas, is a fun and unique way to take advantage of the extra time on your hands at home to try something new and to take advantage of the extra tools and family members in your kitchen. Similar to the family-style taco assembly with plenty of tasks to go around, this is a recipe in which you can involve your whole family (or friend pod). My dad always claims the task of cutting the onions — he gets a kick out of how it makes everyone cry — while my older sister enjoys creatively assembling and plating the toppings. My brother — who has also been expanding his cooking skills during remote learning — takes charge of grilling the chicken, and my mom makes the slaw. Once it’s all laid out, we enjoy rounding the countertop, each one of us filling our butter lettuce base with our own individual choice of toppings. And if your family doesn’t devour them all first, the leftovers can be made into a salad or noodle bowl the next day!

 

THAI CHICKEN LETTUCE WRAPS

Family style, build your own!

An easy, fun and creative recipe… It’s easier than it looks!

SERVINGS: 8 lettuce wraps

PREP TIME: 30 minutes (including marinade)

COOK TIME: 20 minutes

INSTRUCTIONS:

For Chicken (or protein of your choice):

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tablespoon pre-minced)
  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger 
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha 
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • ⅓ cup hoisin sauce
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • sprinkle of salt and pepper
  1. Combine hoisin sauce, soy sauce, grated ginger, Sriracha, rice wine vinegar and garlic in a large bowl. Add the chicken strips and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. 
  2. Heat up 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan on medium-high. Make sure the pan isn’t too hot, so the chicken can cook all the way through and retain nice color.
  3. Add chicken, making sure both sides are browned and cooked through evenly, about 5-6 minutes.

For the Slaw:

    • 1 package Spring Mix of julienned vegetables
    • 1 cup mayonnaise (I prefer vegan mayo, but your choice)
    • ½ cup Greek yogurt
    • 2 tablespoons Korean Chili Paste/Sriracha 
  • sprinkle of salt and pepper
  1. Combine the ingredients for the slaw in a bowl and stir.
  2. Refrigerate until time to serve.

Toppings:

  • 8 butter lettuce leaves, rinsed and dried
  • 1 package rice noodles (and remaining soy sauce and sesame oil)
  • 1 cup bean sprouts, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • lime wedges
  • chopped cilantro
  • chopped peanuts
  • chopped scallions
  1. Cook rice noodles according to the package, transfer to serving bowl and douse in soy sauce and sesame oil to prevent drying.
  2. Remove slaw from the fridge.
  3. For the lettuce and fillings: set out lettuce, bean sprouts, cabbage, carrots, limes, green onions, peanuts, cilantro, cucumbers, slaw and rice noodles in bowls. 
  4. Use your buttered lettuce as your base. 

Build your lettuce wraps and enjoy!