My love of Asian food runs deep. My knowledge of how to make Asian sauces, however, does not.
I make a lot of stir-fry dishes at home, but I don’t share them because I have a hard time perfecting the sauces. So instead, I typically mix a few ingredients, then tweak it until it tastes right. At that point, I have no idea how much I added of anything!
For this Asian Chicken and Cashew Lettuce Wraps recipe, I decided to keep it really simple (and measure from the very beginning). I also used my secret sauce weapon – red curry paste.
I love red curry paste because it packs so many different flavours into an excellent, easy-to-use component for sauces. It allows me to keep the flavours big and the ingredient lists small.
Asian Chicken and Cashew Lettuce Wraps
I got the idea for this chicken cashew lettuce wrap recipe from a dish I used to order at Pei Wei back when I lived in Oklahoma. The filling was a hot and savoury chicken and veggie combo, contrasted by cool, crisp lettuce leaves.
So here’s my copycat attempt. Unfortunately, it’s been a long time since I’ve had Pei Wei’s lettuce wraps, so I can’t really compare the two. I’m pretty smitten with this version, though!
Asian Chicken and Cashew Lettuce WrapsPrint Recipe
- 1 head of green leaf lettuce or green butter lettuce
- 1 pound of ground chicken (I recommend ground chicken thigh)
- 2 red bell peppers, diced
- 1 cup of roughly chopped water chestnuts (1 8oz net weight can)
- 1-inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup of reduced-sodium soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free)
- 3 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of red curry paste (I like Thai Kitchen’s red curry paste)
- 1 teaspoon of honey (or sugar)
- 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch, if needed to thicken the sauce
- 3/4 cup of raw cashews, roughly chopped
- green onion, sliced for topping (optional but recommended)
- Carefully peel apart the lettuce leaves and thoroughly rinse them. Set the leaves aside to dry while the filling is prepared.
- In a large skillet, cook the ground chicken over medium heat. If you use ground chicken breast, I recommend adding a little olive oil or coconut oil to the pan. As the chicken cooks, break up any large pieces. Cook the chicken for about 7 minutes or until it is no longer pink.
- Once the chicken is cooked, add the diced bell pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the pepper has softened a little.
- Next, add the water chestnuts, ginger and garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the water chestnuts are heated through, and the ginger and garlic are fragrant.
- Whisk together the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, red curry paste, and honey in a liquid measuring cup or bowl. Pour the sauce over the chicken and veggies, then stir to coat the whole mixture with the sauce—Cook for one more minute. If the sauce seems a bit runny, stir in 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch and cook for an additional minute.
- Stir in the chopped cashews. Taste the filling and if needed, add a pinch of sea salt. Serve the filling warm over the lettuce leaves and sprinkle with sliced green onion—store leftover filling in a covered container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Store the lettuce leaves separately in a large Ziploc bag with a paper towel.