Thursday, September 23, 2010

food series: garlic chicken lettuce wraps

another pleasure of! i absolutely love food, i would say equally to beauty products. i really enjoy cooking, but unfortunately i dont always have time to whip something up every night. however, this recipe is something that i make frequently and is definitely a favorite of mine. it is relatively fast to make and very simple to put together. not to mention it is healthy!

what you will need (serves roughly 3 people)

for the meat:
three chicken breasts
four cloves of garlic
any cooking oil on hand
black pepper
garlic powder
onion powder

for fillers:

1/2 a lb of thin rice vermicelli noodles (i actually used angel hair pasta because i didnt have any of the rice noodles on hand!)
one large tomato
two romaine lettuce hearts
small cucumber
one bunch of cilantro

for sauce:

one clove of garlic
fish sauce
chili peppers (optional)

step 1:
boil your pasta according to the box directions.

when cooked to desired texture, strain and rinse completely with cold water

step 2:
take all five of your garlic cloves and mince. set aside.

step 3:

take your lettuce, cucumber, tomato, and cilantro. rinse all of your vegetables.

for your lettuce, cut the base off and separate each leaf. it looks like a lot of lettuce, but trust me, you will use it all!

dice your tomato, cut a 1/3 of your cucumber in thin halved slices, and leave your cilantro as is.

step 4:
rinse your chicken breast with water and pat dry. cut each breast into long sectional pieces.

cut chicken slices again into bite size pieces. set aside.

step 5:
drizzle a small amount of any oil on hand into your pan. set heat on stove to med-high. when oil is hot enough, add most of your garlic (4/5th of it). stir around until fragrant.

step 6:
add your chicken! add your salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. the last two spices are optional but i find it adds a nice flavor to the chicken when added. i dont measure the spices, i usually just add by eye (i usually never measure.) i would venture a guess that i add less than a teaspoon of salt and even less so for everything else.

keep stirring your chicken until it is the desired color you like. i prefer my chicken to be at the point shown here; it tastes sooo much better with the browned bits. take off stove and set aside.

step 7:
sauce time! take your remaining garlic in a small bowl that will hold your sauce. add less than a tsp of salt.

now is the tricky part. here i am using caramelized sugar (basically sugar in liquid form) that was already pre-made for me. you dont have to use caramelized sugar, regular sugar can be substituted (although the caramelized sugar DOES make it much tastier). i added three tbs.

next add equal parts of fish sauce as you did the sugar. if you dont know what fish sauce is, this is what the bottle looks like (there are many brands, this is just the one i used.) you can find these in any asian food markets, but sometimes they will be at your local store in the asian section, just check!

next take half a lime and squeeze into your sauce bowl. i like to add the pulp as well, but do what you prefer.

once you add the lime, stir up your sauce! you can stop at this point or you can continue on to add a bit of a kick...

by adding whole chili peppers! again, this is OPTIONAL. if you do not like spicy food, skip this and leave your sauce as is. here i used five whole peppers, but add more or less to your liking.

chop finely. handle carefully and avoid touching the pepper as much as possible, the oils will burn your hands/eyes if you make contact with it!

add your pepper, and your final product should look more or less like shown.

step 8:
assemble! you can really eat this however you like. you can either make a salad of it by breaking up your lettuce into smaller pieces, tossing the rest of the fillers on top and drizzling the sauce on it like dressing (my sister prefers this less messy way.) or you can assemble large "taco" like pieces, using the whole lettuce leaf as the "taco shell" (as my guy friends prefer.)

or you can do what i prefer, the bite sized wrap option (pictured). to do this, break a leaf of lettuce into a smaller size (or just use one of the smaller innermost leaves), add cilantro, tomato, and cucumber, then place the noodle and chicken on top so everything stays put from the weight of the pasta/chicken. i then drizzle sauce on each little wrap i make as i eat.

you can always skip the sauce recipe i made and use whatever other light sauce you like (vinaigrette, or even nothing since the chicken has so much flavor!) the possibilities are endless. enjoy!

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