Paleo Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Paleo Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps 

We all love carbs - they’re delicious and magical, and yes; not that great for you. “Everything in moderation” is a great mindset, but is often difficult to actually apply to our daily lifestyles. I often try my hardest to make most of my meals #Paleo, short for the Paleolithic Diet, which basically consists of lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, fish oil and grass-fed meat. It cuts out dairy, grains, processed food & sugar, and starches. I have learned to substitute rice for more veggies, zucchini noodles, or a big salad. I’m not on a strict Paleo diet at all, but try to incorporate it into my meals as much as possible. 
I love lettuce wraps. They’re so easy to make and are so low in carbs that you can indulge without feeling guilty. My version is a twist on the typical lettuce wraps that use hoisin sauce. This recipe is packed with flavor, simple to throw together during the week, and will be a nice mix into your family’s meals. And on top of that, it’s budget friendly! What more could you ask for :) Let’s get cookin :)

What You Need: (Serves 4) 

-  2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts. I minced it up, but you can go for ground chicken or ground turkey as well

- 1 tbsp EVOO

- ½ tbsp cornstarch

- 2 cloves of garlic, minced

- ½ yellow onion, diced

- Few dashes Worcestershire sauce

- ½ cup Lee Kum Kee Plum Sauce (available at any Asian market. If unavailable, substitute ¼ cup hoisin sauce, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar for a more traditional flavor) 

- 1 inch of ginger, sliced into thin matchsticks 

- bunch of fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced

- 1-8 oz. can of whole water chestnuts, drained and diced

- a bunch of green onions, sliced

- salt & pepper

- 1 head lettuce 

- peanuts, optional for topping

What To Do:

- Dice ½ a yellow onion, 2 cloves of garlic, and slice up all your green onions. How many stalks of green onion you use is totally up to you - I used about 5 because I love the bright color and crunch in every bite of my lettuce wraps. I also reserved some for garnish at the end. Remove the skin from the ginger with a paring knife or by scraping it with a spoon, and then slice off thin disks of ginger, stacking them and then slicing them julienne into thin matchsticks. 

- Gently remove the stems from the shiitake mushrooms and slice the caps into ½" pieces. I like to keep them chunky because they cook down and shrink. You can also dice these up, but I love having big pieces of mushroom in this dish. 

- Chop up the water chestnuts. In this photo I diced them but in retrospect I think they’re better as larger chunks. You get a little more crunch ;) 

- If you bought boneless skinless chicken breast, dice it into tiny chunks. The smaller the better. Add the cornstarch and season the chicken or turkey with salt and pepper. Stir well to incorporate. 

- Cornstarch has a huge presence in Chinese cooking. It is integral in the stir-frying process - it helps to tenderize protein, seal in the juices, and make things crispier. Other ways Chinese chefs use cornstarch is in a cornstarch slurry, which acts as a thickener for sauces, giving your food a flawless, glossy coverage.

- Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add the diced yellow onions and stir until they just start to cook thru. Season with salt & pepper. 

- Add the shiitakes. You can drain the pan of excess fat, but I often find that shiitakes need a bit of moisture to cook up, and by simply stirring the mushrooms into the natural juices rendered from the protein, they soak up just enough flavor. 

- Stir in the plum sauce as the chicken starts to brown. The sugars in the worcestershire sauce and plum sauce create gorgeous golden browning on everything. The onions should have become translucent, the chicken glossy and browned all over. Stir in the water chestnuts and green onions for a minute or two. Taste for seasoning, and adjust with salt and pepper.

- That’s it! Serve these lettuce wraps up by spooning heaping amounts into lettuce leaves. You can garnish with crushed peanuts and additional green onions. Wasn’t that so easy? A quick and easy stir fry that has so much flavor dimension and is fun to eat :) 

The perfect light meal. Jam-packed with flavor and texture and super easy on the wallet. :) If you've cooked any recipes from the blog, snap a pic and tag me #BrokeAndCooking! Have a great week :)