Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chef Ming Tsai's Chicken with Lettuce Wraps

Inspired by Ming Tsai's stories of cooking stir fries for his sons, I set out to do the same. I have made very few stir fries since having children as it is hard to do last minute cooking when my little boys are playing/grabbing my legs. However, as my older son is allergic to peanuts and can't eat at Chinese restaurants, I wanted to start making more stir-fries for him at home.

Here is the original version. I left out the chili paste and used ground chicken. Don't get intimidated by the ingredients. These days you can actually find jicama and Mung Bean noodles at the supermarket. If not, you can just leave the out. The first ingredient, sweet soy sauce is an Indonesian sauce, also called Kecap Manis. I found it at Super 88 (in Chinatown and Brighton) and C-Mart in Chinatown. However, while I haven't tried it myself, I suspect you could reduce soy sauce mixed with sugar or honey on the stove. It should taste syrupy.

This recipe is from Ming Tsai himself.

Serves 4

• 3/4 cup sweet soy sauce
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
• 1 teaspoon sambal oelek (Indonesian chili paste))
• 1 tablespoon minced ginger
• 1 tablespoon minced garlic
• 1 pound chicken thigh meat, boneless, skinless, and cut into small dice
• 1 onion, cut into small dice
• 1 carrot, cut into small dice
• 3 celery stalks, cut into small dice
• 1 small jicama (baseball-sized), cut into small dice
• Mung bean vermicelli noodles (1 package)
• Bibb lettuce leaves
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• Canola oil

Fill a fryer or stockpot one-third with oil and heat to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine sweet soy sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sambal, ginger, and garlic. In a large saute pan over medium-high heat coated lightly with oil saute chicken until almost cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Add onions, carrot, celery and jicama, season with salt and pepper and toss. Add sweet soy deglazing mixture and saute; allow to reduce almost completely. Check flavor, season if necessary. Fry vermicelli, it will take seconds to puff up, and remove to a paper towel-lined plate. To serve, divide chicken mixture among 4 small bowls and place on 4 dinner plates. Divide Bibb lettuce leaves and mung bean vermicelli among plates.

To eat, make a lettuce wrap and enjoy! Alternatively, serve in a bento box for extra fun.

Copyright Ming Tsai 2008

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