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Chicken with Pine Nuts in Lettuce Cups

2 Comments 22 September 2012

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This is a healthy and easy dish adapted from New York’s famous Shun Lee restaurant (who will arrange for kosher banquets by special request btw).

When I’m in the mood for Chinese food but don’t want greasy take-out, I make this for dinner with cold ginger scallion noodles (recipe below), a lighter alternative to those gloppy peanut butter laden noodles.

Throw some frozen egg rolls into the mix and some seasonal stir-fried veggies and you’ve got your own Chinese feast at home.

CHICKEN SOONG
Adapted from Shun Lee restaurant

Serves 4

Chicken:

  • ½ pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into ¼ cubes
  • 2 teaspoons egg white (beat the white until foamy, then measure)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1/8 – ¼ tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 4 celery ribs, finely diced (1 cup)
  • 4 scallions, white and green parts, trimmed and minced (3/4 cup)
  • 3 carrots, finely diced (1/2 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • hoisin sauce (for serving)
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce (for serving)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 1-2 Tablespoons canola (or peanut) oil

1. Core the lettuce and separate into leaves. Pile on a platter and set aside. Prepare a small serving bowl with the hoisin sauce.

2. Place the diced chicken meat in a mixing bowl and add the egg white, salt and cornstarch. Blend well. Refrigerate 30 minutes or longer.

3. Combine the chopped celery, carrots, scallions and garlic. Set aside.

4. In another bowl, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, rice wine or sherry, sugar, water, white pepper and cornstarch and set aside.

5. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wok or large non-stick skillet and when it is hot add the chicken; stir constantly to separate the cubes. Cook a few minutes until it turns white and is just cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside.

6. Add 1 teaspoon of sesame oil to the pan and add the celery, carrot and scallion mixture. Cook, stirring, about a minute or two and then add back in the cooked chicken and the sauce, stirring, another minute until the chicken is hot. Add in the pine nuts and remove from heat.

7. Serve the chicken with the lettuce on the side. Let guests help themselves, adding a spoonful or so of the chicken mixture to a lettuce leaf with the hoisin sauce and folding it before eating.

Serve as a first course or part of meal. You can double the recipe for a larger group.

GINGER NOODLE SALAD
Adapted from The Best of Vietnamese and Thai Cooking, by Mai Pham

I love these noodles as a side dish with just scallions and the ginger dressing, but throw in broccoli and red pepper strips for a more complete dish if you wish. The noodles marinate in soy sauce, which give them depth and flavor.

• 1 pound dried chow-mein or lo-mein style noodles or thin whole-wheat spaghetti, cooked until just done, rinsed and drained
• ½ cup soy sauce
• 2-4 green onions, thinly sliced (or more to taste)
• 3 cups broccoli florets, blanched or microwaved (rinsed in cold water & drained)
• ½ red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
• fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)

Dressing:
• 2 tablespoons minced or grated fresh ginger
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
• ¼ – ½ tsp dried chili flakes or to taste (optional)
• 1/3 cup good-quality dark sesame oil

1. Combine the cooked noodles with the soy sauce in a mixing bowl. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

2. To make the dressing, place all of the ingredients except the sesame oil in a food processor and blend until creamy. With the motor running, slowly pour in the sesame oil and blend for about 20 seconds (do not overblend or the dressing will turn whitish)

3. To serve, gently toss the noodles with the dressing, adding 3 or 4 tablespoons at a time. The noodles should be evenly coated but not soggy. Add the broccoli, red pepper and green onions and gently toss. Garnish with cilantro if you wish.



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Your Comments

2 Comments so far

  1. I love lettuce wraps, so healthy and light and delish, thanks for the recipe.

  2. Emily says:

    This was very delicious! I didn’t use the pine nuts, but it was tasty, flavorful and a big hit!


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