A long time ago when my sister was managing the new Joyce Chen’s Restaurant in the Transportation Building in the theatre district downtown Boston I was served minced chicken or pork in lettuce wraps it was out of this world. Years later in San Jose my boss took me to a friend’s restaurant and he gave me what he called Chinese tacos, essentially the same tastes and style. Ever since I have grabbed a bottle of hoisin sauce now and then, minced chicken or pork and came up with something like this, always slightly different always depending what I have lying around.
Remember I eyeball most times but I have been eyeballing into spoons and cups for the blog, at least for now.
- 1 Tbsp. Peanut Oil.
- About 1 ½ chicken diced 1/2 “or smaller this time I used breast was on hand but is better with thigh (dark). (If you have partially frozen chicken it makes the dicing much easier).
- 1 small onion 1 diced about 1/3 “or smaller.
- 1 carrot diced small.
- 1 stalk celery strings removed and diced small.
- ¾ tsp. Chinese Five Spice.
- 1/3 cup finely chopped water chestnuts.
- 3 Tbsp. chicken broth (water is fine if you don’t have).
- 2 ½ to 3 tsps. Hoisin sauce.
- About 2 Tbsp. roughly chopped fresh cilantro (could fresh basil).
- 2 scallions white and greens sliced thin.
- ½ tsp. sesame oil (use light colored not dark)
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- Boston bib Lettuce romaine or iceberg would work in a pinch
IN large skillet, heat the peanut oil until shimmering. Add the chicken and stir fry over high heat until just cook through about 5 minutes. Use slotted spoon to remove the chicken and put aside.
Add the onion, carrot and celery to the skillet cook over medium or slightly lower heat until soften about 4 minutes. Add the 5 spice and stir cook about 20-30 seconds you will smell it. Stir in the chestnuts, chicken stock and Hoisin sauce. Return the chicken to pan stirring to coat evenly about 1 minute. Hint, you may have to remove pan from heat if it is too hot so it does not thicken up too much. YA YA I had the heat to high so be quiet! Now remove from heat add the Cilantro, scallions and Sesame seed oil and mix thoroughly. Spoon the mixture into lettuce leaves for wrapping.