July 30, 2011

HB Cooks: Vietnamese-style Chicken Lettuce Wraps

This week I reinvented a classic Real Simple magazine recipe for Chicken and Cashews in Lettuces Wraps and made it with a Vietnamese twist. The key to this recipe is the Nuoc Cham sauce which is made from fish sauce. I had searched high and low for a great nuoc cham recipe, one that isn’t too fishy and holds up to restaurant standards. I really like this one from the Sunday Nite Dinner blog.  I used all but one of the suggested ingredients, as I substituted a small amount of jalapeno pepper for the thai pepper.  I also sprung for the high-quality Three Crabs brand of fish sauce, and dissolved the sugar in water on the stove. It really came out tasty, and I have a lot of extra sauce for  future summer roll dipping! 

*Note: Remember to leave some extra time for marinating the chicken when making this dish.

Vietnamese-style Chicken Lettuce Wraps

  • 1 ½ lbs chicken, cut into pieces
  • 1 T Canola Oil
  • 4 oz. rice sticks, boiled in water for 3-5 minutes
  • 1 carrot julienned or shredded (I use a vegetable peeler for this)
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 8 oz. can of water chestnuts, drained

1. Place cut chicken pieces in a bowl with Nuoc Cham sauce and 1 T of Canola oil. Sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper. Mix with hands. Cover and let sit in refrigerator for 2 hours (or 1/2 hour at room temperature if you prefer--that's what I did, but you should do what ever you feel comfortable with because warm meat is not something to mess with). 
2. Heat 1 T. of canola oil in pan. Add chicken. Cook for 10 minutes until slightly brown. Spoon out extra liquid to increase browning (optional).

3.  Add garlic to chicken. Cook for 2 minutes
4.  Add water chestnuts and cashews. Cook for 2 more minutes.

5. Assemble dish by adding chicken mixture and vermicelli to the lettuce cups and garnish with carrots.

Spoon extra Nuoc Cham sauce on top of the finished lettuce wraps for extra flavor!

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