Take a culinary road trip without getting in the car: These vibrant lettuce wraps pay tribute to the deliciously sticky-sweet teriyaki chicken that’s a street food favorite across the Pacific Northwest. Combining the soy-glazed grilled (or broiled) chicken with plenty of crunchy raw vegetables celebrates the fusion vibe of the region, says culinary instructor and cookbook author Molly Stevens, who created this recipe for Real Food. And, it makes a refreshingly bright summer meal, whether you stick with serving it in the lettuce or serve it atop noodles or rice.
Chicken Teriyaki Lettuce Wraps
Makes 4 Servings
1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger, divided
1½ teaspoons finely grated garlic, divided
½ cup soy sauce or tamari, divided
1/3 cup mirin or Sherry
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons orange juice, pineapple juice, or water
6 ounces dried thin rice noodles (maifun or vermicelli)
2 to 3 heads Bibb or Boston lettuce (16 to 20 leaves)
1 heaping cup shredded carrots
1 medium cucumber, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
16 to 20 sprigs fresh cilantro
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
Sriracha, chili paste, or other favorite hot sauce
- Place the chicken in a non-reactive dish or heavy-duty plastic bag and season with 1 teaspoon grated ginger, 1 teaspoon grated garlic and 2 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari). Turn to coat and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours.
- In a small saucepan, combine the remaining 1 teaspoon grated ginger, remaining ½ teaspoon grated garlic, and remaining 6 tablespoons soy sauce with the mirin (or Sherry) and sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and juice (or water). Drizzle the cornstarch mixture into the sauce, whisking, and simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes. Set aside at room temperature for up to 6 hours.
- Just before serving, cook the noodles according to package directions and drain. Divide into 16 to 20 individual nest-like portions or chop coarsely and arrange on a plate. Arrange the lettuce leaves on a platter. Put the carrots, cucumbers, cilantro, scallions and sesame seeds in individual bowls. Warm the sauce if made ahead.
- Heat a grill (or broiler) to medium-high. Grill (or broil) the chicken about 3 minutes per side, brushing lightly with sauce during the last minute of cooking. Transfer to a cutting board and chop into bite-size pieces.
- Let diners build their own wraps by filling the lettuce leaves in the following order: noodles, chicken, carrots, cucumbers, cilantro, scallions, sesame seeds, a thin drizzle of sauce and hot sauce to taste.
• Lettuce wraps are a fun do-it-yourself way to serve dinner, but if you’re looking for a more controlled presentation (and one that doesn’t require diners to assemble their own plates), skip the lettuce wraps and serve the chicken and toppings over the noodles. You can turn this recipe into a rice bowl by substituting plain cooked rice for the noodles.
• To make the noodle nests, use a table fork to twirl a bite-size portions of noodles into a little swirl. Each nest should be about the size of a walnut.
Nutrition info Chicken Teriyaki Lettuce Wraps (Per Serving): Calories 550; Fat 16g (Sat. 5g); Chol 150mg; Sodium 2410mg; Carb 64g; Fiber 4g; Sugar 18g; Protein 41g