Thursday, May 1, 2008

Asian Lettuce Cups

When we lived in San Jose, almost all the hip, cool restaurants had Asian infused dishes. We ate lots of sushi and dishes full of flavors like ginger, garlic, chile sauce, soy, seaweed, pickled cabbage. We ate Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Singaporean, Thai and many other types of dishes. I was in heaven. Being from Texas, the same pattern of food fusion happens here, just with Mexican food. I'm not complaining, I love it. It was just nice to be surrounded by something different for a few years.

For the longest time, I thought only the most gifted of cooks can create Asian influenced dishes because food that flavorful must be hard to prepare. Right? The more I cook, the more I learn you don't have to be schooled in culinary arts to make food that is yummy and seemingly fancy. And good food doesn't have to be difficult. If cooking a dish stresses you out, maybe it shouldn't be made again.

My thoughtful Aunt Andi gave me the a subscription to Real Simple for Christmas. I love that magazine. It has great organizing tips, great decorating tips and usually some fun ideas for entertaining mixed in with quick recipes. This months magazine included this great recipe for Chicken and Cashews in Lettuce Cups. Not only is it flavorful, it is heart healthy. Score!

The process took about 15-20 minutes and was a big hit with the husband. I love it when he likes something that is good for him.

Ingredients: recipe from Real Simple
2 Tbsp. canola oil (I used 1)
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts- diced into 1 inch pieces
3 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce (I used 4)
3 Tbsp. honey (I used 4)
2 cloves garlic- minced (I used 3)
1 heaping Tbsp fresh ginger- minced
a squeeze of lime juice
1 5 oz. can sliced water chessnuts- rinsed and drained
1/4 cup unsalted cashews (I bought salted on accident)
4-6 leaves of butter, bib or boston lettuce- rinsed and patted dry. (I used butter)

Season cubed chicken with pepper.
In a small bowl whisk together the soy sauce and honey. Set aside.
In a large skillet or wok, heat the oil over high heat.
Place chicken in skillet and sear all sides. Takes about 3 minutes.
Add garlic and ginger. Reduce heat to medium high and cook additional minute.
Add about half of the soy mixture and water chessnuts.
Simmer until chicken is cooked through. About 6-8 minutes.
Add cashews and mix until combined.
Spoon chicken mix onto rinsed butter lettuce leaves.
I served this with some steamed pot stickers and edamame.


JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

That looks scrumptious! I don't do much Asian food, because I can't have soy, but I do love the flavors in lettuce wraps and they look so pretty!
I also love real simple - such a great magazine!

Miranda said...

This looks DEVINE!!! Mara told me about you and I was joyed to see that you left me a comment today. I added you to my Good Eats list. Nice to meet you.

GREAT blog!!

Andi said...

I've changed my mind...I want this for dinner!!! Boy does that look yummy!

Angela said...

I got back from the grocery store this morning with ingredients to try these too after seeing them in Real Simple. I'm happy to know you tried them and they were as easy as they sounded... these are always my favorite at PF Chang's!

Ali said...

I saw this in Real Simple and thought about making it-- I have to say, with the exception of just a handful of things, their recipes are top-notch. They must have a fantastic test kitchen group.

Amy said...

You know, I've had the opposite experience with the Real Simple recipes, they never turn out well for me. Glad to know this one's a success, I think I'll make it tonight! xoxo, SG