Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

With summer upon us there are so many great light appetizers that can be made while we are getting the grill ready for the main course. One of my favorites is a lettuce wrap that is filled with grilled marinated chicken, fresh veggies, and topped with a spicy peanut sauce.

This basic recipe would work with 4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts. A good portion is to start with 1/2 a boneless skinless chicken breast per person. After a quick wash and trim I marinate the chicken for a least an hour in a mixture of 1 can coconut milk, 1/4 cup teriyaki marinade (substitution would be 1/3 cup soy sauce and 2 tablespoons brown sugar), the zest and juice of one lime, two cloves crushed garlic, 4 tablespoons sesame oil, and 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds.

While the chicken is marinating you can prepare the spicy peanut sauce which will be the dressing for the lettuce wraps.
1 cup fresh smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup hot water
4 cloves garlic, finely minced and mashed 2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

Salt and pepper to taste.
Mix the ingredients well and set aside. After allowing the sauce to rest for a few minutes, taste for seasoning. You may want to add more cayenne pepper for spice for may need to add a little more water to reach the desired consistency. A good consistency for this sauce would be comparable to a salad dressing.

Grill the chicken in whole pieces until well done with a nice char and slice thin for serving.

Fillings for the wraps can vary but for these we used fresh bean sprouts, thinly sliced carrots and cucumber, and green onions. It all gets wrapped up and eaten like a taco, but in place of the tortilla we use a nice leaf of butter, bibb, or romaine lettuce. Top with a splash of lime juice and a drizzle of the peanut sauce.