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Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Published May 2012

Why This Recipe Works

This dish, popularized by chain restaurants like P.F. Chang’s and the Cheesecake Factory, is based on a Cantonese dish called sung choy bao. Most recipes for this dish suffer from a similar fate—stringy, tasteless meat drowned in a bland sauce. To remedy this, we started with flavorful chicken thighs and marinated them in soy sauce and rice wine. To keep the meat from drying out when stir-fried, we coated it in a velvetizing cornstarch slurry, which helped it retain moisture as it cooked. 

Ingredients

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Chicken

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons Chinese rice cooking wine or dry sherry
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Sauce

3 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice cooking wine or dry sherry
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Stir-Fry

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced thin
½ cup water chestnuts, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 scallions, white parts minced, green parts sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 head Bibb lettuce (8 ounces), washed and dried, leaves separated and left whole
hoisin sauce
Nutritional Information

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Per Serving (Serves 4)

  • Calories 307
  • Cholesterol 106 mg
  • Fat 16 g
  • Sodium 793 mg
  • Saturated 2 g
  • Carbs 12 g
  • Trans 0 g
  • Dietary Fiber 2 g
  • Monounsaturated 8 g
  • Sugar 3 g
  • Polyunsaturated 4 g
  • Protein 25 g

The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Instructions

Serves 4 as a main dish or 6 as an appetizer

To make an entrée, serve this dish with steamed white rice.

1. FOR THE CHICKEN: Place chicken pieces on large plate in single layer. Freeze meat until firm and starting to harden around edges, about 20 minutes.

2. Whisk rice wine, soy sauce, oil, and cornstarch together in bowl. Pulse half of meat in food processor until coarsely chopped into ¼- to 1/8-inch pieces, about 10 pulses. Transfer meat to bowl with rice wine mixture and repeat with remaining chunks. Toss chicken to coat and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

3. FOR THE SAUCE: Whisk all ingredients together in bowl; set aside.

4. FOR THE STIR-FRY: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until smoking. Add chicken and cook, stirring constantly, until opaque, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to bowl and wipe out skillet.

5. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in now-empty skillet over high heat until smoking. Add celery and mushrooms; cook, stirring constantly, until mushrooms have reduced in size by half and celery is crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add water chestnuts, scallion whites, and garlic; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk sauce to recombine. Return chicken to skillet; add sauce and toss to combine. Spoon into lettuce leaves and sprinkle with scallion greens. Serve, passing hoisin sauce separately.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.