Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Orange Chilli Chicken Lettuce Cups

Two weekends ago, I found myself craving Asian food, and wanting to cook for some of my friends. Since I feel I'm always eating their wonderful food, it was about time I returned the favor. I ended up cooking for 10 people, most of whom I didn't know, but all of whom who appreciate the impromptu dinner of two very different Asian dishes. One was the Vietnamese Pork Noodle Salad which is a personal favorite. The other is a recipe I haven't made in years, for chicken lettuce cups, and is from one of the first cookbooks I ever bought. It was a nice discovery to revisit this book and since it's full of Asian favorites, I have a feeling I'll be breaking it out again sometime soon. The place we were eating had some mood lighting (in all seriousness, i think it was the disco light) that caused this odd effect to the color of the food. But I swear it was tasty.

Orange Chilli Chicken Lettuce Cups (serves 4-6 as an appetizer)

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 TB soy sauce
  • 1 TB rice wine vinegar
  • 1 TB sesame oil
  • Peanut oil, for deep frying
  • 2 oz dried rice vermicelli noodles, broken up
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 4 oz can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 iceberg or romaine lettuce
For the sauce
  • 2 TB soy sauce
  • 2 TB teriyaki sauce
  • 1 TB mild-hot chili sauce
  • 2 TB hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp finely grated orange rind
  • 1 tsp cornflour

Mix together the chicken, soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil, cover and refrigerate.

Half-fill the wok with oil and heat to moderately hot. Add the rice noodles in small batches, and fry for 1-2 seconds, or until puffed. Remove and rain on paper towels.

To make the sauce, combine all the ingredients and stir until the cornflour has dissolved. Set aside.

Heat a little peanut oil in a wok or large pan. Add the chicken and fry for 3-4 minutes, breaking up any lumps with a fork. Add the red pepper, water chestnuts, spring onion and ginger to the pan, toss for 1-2 minutes. Add the sauce to the pan and stir for another minute. Remove from the heat and mix in the noodles, reserving a few for garnish.

Form the lettuce leaves into cups. Fill cups with chicken and sprinkle with the reserved noodles on top.

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