"I love chicken lettuce wraps and I get them at any restaurant that has them. Could you get the ones from the California Pizza Kitchen, please?"
Terry Scott, St. Louis
"The California Pizza Kitchen Family Cookbook" (Wiley, 2008) contains family-friendly recipes for more than just pizza, including these lettuce wraps.
Parents and children can team up to make appetizers, salads, sandwiches and desserts from the book. A list of equipment needed for each recipe makes the book especially useful.
The cookbook is the third from CPK founders Larry Flax and Rick Rosenfield; proceeds are donated to children's charities across the country.
The key to these lettuce wraps is a flavorful sauce, redolent with garlic and ginger. The sauce is also good with pot stickers or fried won tons.
Rice sticks provide an Asian flair and extra crunch. If you can't find rice sticks, crispy noodles or thin strips of fried flour tortillas could be substituted.
TO REQUEST A RESTAURANT RECIPE
Send the name and location of the restaurant and a description of the dish. Include your name, address (or e-mail address) and daytime phone number. Email requests to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Special Request, 900 North Tucker Boulevard, St. Louis, Mo. 63101. We cannot guarantee a response.
Lettuce Wraps With Chicken
California Pizza Kitchen
Yield: 4 servings (2 wraps each)
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon seasoned rice wine
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
3 tablespoons toasted (Asian) sesame oil
2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon canola oil, divided
2/3 cup sliced or coarsely chopped water chestnuts
4 fresh shiitake mushrooms caps, sliced or coarsely chopped
2 green onions (white and light green parts only), chopped
1/2 teaspoon chile oil
About 2 cups fried rice sticks (see note)
8 large iceberg lettuce leaves
1. Make the sauce. In a small pot, combine rice vinegar, rice wine and soy sauce; stir in cornstarch mixture. Stir in sesame oil and sugar; cook over low heat just until mixture begins to simmer. Stir in garlic and ginger; cook, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Cool. Use immediately or refrigerate up to 5 days. (Makes about 1 cup.)
2. Grind chicken in a food processor or mince with a knife. Place a wok or heavy skillet over high heat; add 1 tablespoon oil and swirl pan to coat. Add chicken in small clumps, breaking up meat as it cooks. Cook until chicken is done, about 5 minutes; drain in a colander.
3. Return pan to high heat; add remaining 1 teaspoon oil. Add water chestnuts and mushrooms. Stir-fry 30 seconds. Return chicken to pan and add 1/2 cup sauce. Cook, stirring, about 1 minute more, just until evenly mixed and heated through. Stir in green onions and chile oil and cook a few seconds more. (Makes about 2 1/3 cups filling.)
4. Divide rice sticks among 4 serving plates; mound chicken mixture on top. To assemble wraps, scoop some of the chicken and rice sticks into a lettuce leaf; fold or roll. Pass remaining sauce for dipping.
Note: Rice sticks are thin noodles made of rice flour that puff up to four or five times their size when flash-fried in hot oil. Heat at least 1 inch of vegetable oil in a wok or skillet to about 375 degrees. Drop in a small handful of noodles, pressing into oil with a strainer to make sure all noodles hit the hot oil. Fry for a few seconds, then drain well on paper towels. (Prepare noodles up to 1 hour ahead.) Rice sticks are available at Asian markets and specialty stores.
Per serving: 574 calories; 23g fat (36 percent calories from fat); 3.5g saturated fat; 63mg cholesterol; 29g protein; 58g carbohydrate; 14g sugar; 3g fiber; 1,764mg sodium; 61mg calcium; 485mg potassium.
Adapted from "The California Pizza Kitchen Family Cookbook" (Wiley, 2008).