Monday, May 26, 2008

The Asian Fusion Exclusion - UnStrawberry Orange Chicken Lettuce Wraps



CSA items used in this recipe: Garlic Scapes, Radishes, Bibb Lettuce

I have been thinking on the recipe for this post all weekend.  I wanted to use the strawberries in an Asian-inspired stir fry and I was determined it was going to work, despite the naysayings of a couple of friends, including Cynic. (Real name withheld to protect the innocent.  NOT!) I should know by now to take the advice of this wise woman as I've poo-pooed her advice before only to find myself in a mess, but as always I had to find out for myself. (Photo to the right is of Cynic and me loving on Homer.)

I have revised the recipe name from Strawberry Orange Chicken Lettuce Wraps to Orange Chicken Lettuce Wraps.  The strawberries were not terrible and there wasn't a morsel of the dish left when dinner was over.  However, I would not include them when I make this again. Although not offensive, they didn't add to the dish and they were more on the tangy side than I would have liked. I've made some other modifications to the recipe, including:
  • This was the first time I cooked garlic scapes (I used them raw in the other recipes) and I found the garlic flavor is much milder when cooked.  I wanted more garlic flavor, so I have added a minced garlic clove to the recipe in addition to the two chopped garlic scapes which are all I used tonight.
  • I used 2 teaspoons of grated ginger and I wish the ginger flavor had been more pronounced.  I upped the quantity to 1 tablespoon.
  • I increased the number of radishes from 5 to 8.  The radishes were very mild, but added a crunchy element.
  • I added only 1 tablespoon of brown sugar when I made the dish, but I was hoping for more sweetness.  I upped the amount to 2 tablespoons in the recipe.
I highly recommend this recipe with the modifications even if I did make it up myself. 

I served the lettuce wraps with Thai Kitchen Green Chile & Garlic Rice.  The coconutty sweetness of this rice side dish provided a nice counterbalance to the acid of the oranges.

RECIPE: Strawberry Orange Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Serves 4 as a Main Dish

For marinade/sauce:
2/3 c. orange juice (preferably freshly squeezed)
1 T. tamari soy sauce (or regular soy sauce, but tamari is recommended for fuller flavor)
1 t. chili garlic sauce (available in Asian section of most grocery stores - omit if you do not like spicy foods or use dried chile flakes to your taste)
1 T. cornstarch 
1 T. grated fresh ginger
1/2 t. grated orange zest (omit if not using freshly squeezed orange juice)
1/4 t. sesame oil (optional)

1 lb. boneless chicken breast, sliced in 1/4 in. slices

2 T. brown sugar

1 T. vegetable oil, peanut oil or other light oil (I used Annie's Natural's Basil Olive Oil)
2 garlic scapes, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced (use 2 cloves if not using garlic scapes)
8 small radishes sliced thinly (about 1/2 cup) - or 1/2 cup slivered almonds or water chestnuts
1/2 medium vidalia or other sweet onion, sliced in 1/4 inch strips (about 1 cup)
1/2 large red bell pepper, sliced in 1/4 inch strips (about 1 cup)

Optional: 3 T. fresh basil, sliced in thin strips

Whole bibb lettuce leaves
Sweet and Spicy Dipping Sauce (Recipe follows)

Whisk marinade ingredients together.  Slice chicken, pour half of marinade over and stir to combine.  Allow to marinate while prepping the other ingredients.

Add brown sugar to the remaining marinade and whisk with a fork to combine.  Set aside.

Chop garlic scapes, mince garlic, slice onion and red bell pepper and set aside.  Rinse and dry bibb lettuce leaves and return to refrigerator to keep crisp.  Prepare Sweet and Spicy Dipping Sauce per the recipe below.

Heat a large non-stick skillet or wok over high heat (lower temperature if your stove burns foods easily on high).  Swirl oil in hot skillet or wok.  Pour off marinade from chicken and add chicken to hot skillet a little at a time.  Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes until the chicken pieces turn white.  Add garlic, radishes, onion and peppers to the skillet with the chicken and stir fry for a couple of minutes.  Pour remaining marinade over the chicken and vegetables and stir fry another minute.  Remove from heat and toss in optional fresh basil if using.

Serve with bibb lettuce leaves for wrapping and Sweet and Spicy Dipping Sauce.


RECIPE: Sweet and Spicy Dipping Sauce

1 T. tamari
1 T. water
1 t. chili garlic sauce (use more if you like it hotter)
2 t. brown sugar

Whisk the above ingredients together.  Serve in small individual bowls as a sauce for dipping the lettuce wraps.  Increase ingredients proportionately if you want more sauce.

1 comment:

Cynicent said...

You're too nice to your friend, The Cynic.