This unusual appetizer is reminiscent of the lettuce wraps served in our local Chinese Restaurant.
I based the recipe on one I came across in Fine Cooking magazine's "Cooking Fresh" (2005)
and tinkered with the ingredients until it suited my taste.
It serves 6 - 8 as an appetizer but if you want to serve it as a main course,
this recipe will serve 3.
- 1/3 cup Hoisin sauce or paste (found in the Chinese grocery aisle)
- 4 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Soy sauce
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 lb), rinse and pat dry
- salt and pepper
- Iceberg lettuce leaves - either the small ones from the inside of the head or use a pizza cutter and cut round shaped cups from the larger leaves.
- 1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
- 1-2 green onions chopped or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- 1 handful each of fresh basil and parsley, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
- Heat BBQ grill to medium high. In a small bowl, whisk the Hoisin sauce, rice vinegar and Soy sauce until blended.
- Divide the Hoisin mixture equally into into 2 bowls. Set one aside - you will use it to moisten the chopped chicken later.
- Season the chicken with the salt and pepper and brush with the Hoisin mixture from one of the bowls.
- Grill the chicken thighs, covered, until well browned and beginning to blacken around the edges - about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken over, brush with the sauce and grill for another 5 minutes or so. Continue flipping the chicken and brushing it with the Hoisin mixture until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. This does not take very long.
- Remove from grill and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Chop the chicken into a fine dice.
- Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the Hoisin mixture, the basil, parsley and chives.
- You can refrigerate the chicken at this point.
- Just before spooning onto the lettuce leaves, stir in the peanuts.
- Place one heaping tablespoon onto each lettuce cup (I use a mini ice cream scoop), arrange on a platter and serve.
You may want use the Hoisin sauce as a BBQ sauce. I've often cooked the chicken for supper and saved 4 thighs to make an appetizer for the next day.