Need something a little healthier without tasting healthier? Check out these Northern Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps. Served with peanut sauce and a crunchy/spicy cabbage & carrot slaw, these chicken lettuce wraps are filling and incredibly big on flavor. A great option for company or a casual Tuesday night! These beauties come together in a flash while impressing the most scrupulous gourmets…
Talk to Me About The Taste of These Chicken Lettuce Wraps
When Stevens told me I needed to try making these Northern Thai lettuce wraps, I didn’t quite understand what Northern Thai meant. Once I tasted them though, I realized just how right he was with this title. These are slightly sweet, a touch spicy, but have incredibly deep/earthy undertones from the lemongrass & lime leaves. When topped with spicy peanut sauce and crunchy/tangy slaw, you feel as you’ve been transported to a quaint courtyard restaurant in Old Town Chiang Mai! If you like Thai food, you will LOVE these lettuce wraps.
What Makes These Lettuce Wraps Different From Others?
We’re not trying to be elitist here, but ours have some serious flavor. These are NOT your run of the mill lettuce wraps that combine a little soy sauce and sugar. These have bunches of herbs – ginger, lemongrass, lime leaves (Kaffir/Makrut Lime Leaves), and cilantro. The variety of flavors from different sauces: fish sauce, sambal, and soy sauce embody the essence of Thailand. They have it all, including two additional toppings; spicy peanut sauce and sharp/tangy cabbage carrot coleslaw. Don’t let these delicate dragonflies fool you; there is as much crunch and freshness as a salad, yet the hearty satisfaction of a cheeseburger.
You’ll see from the photography the peanut sauce and another vibrant yellow gold sauce. What is it? This is our Japanese Ginger Dressing! While not necessary for these Northern Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps, this sauce is a wonderful compliment.
How Difficult Are These Wraps?
Do we say the word easy a lot? I think we do, but ease and simplicity are one of our goals. We run a food blog, so our lives revolve around our kitchens cooking, testing, and yes, entertaining. But we know quite often time is a commodity and few have the luxury of extensive kitchen time. We try to impart the best flavors in the least amount of time, bottle it up in a recipe, and hand it to you. These lettuce wraps are the best flavor and come together in about 30 minutes. It’s hard to beat that. Add all of the meat ingredients into a big bowl, mix them up (like sausage or meatballs), and then pan fry it. While the sausage sizzles, start prepping the sides and you’re all set!
This Meal is Actually Healthy?
From time to time, I need a reset on my eating. Especially after having babies…or long holiday weekends (4th of July getting anybody else?)! These lettuce wraps have the extra benefit of being a super healthy meal. They use either ground chicken or turkey and are packed with delicious, crunchy vegetables. With no compromise on flavor, these lettuce wraps are a win on all fronts.
Tips and Tricks for Making Northern Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- *Kaffir lime leaves (aka Makrut Lime) are a key ingredient in the flavor profile for these lettuce wraps, but they are sometimes difficult to find. You can use a dried version here (just soak them in water for 5 minutes before using), or you can order them fresh. If you want to go the fresh route, it may be easier to find them at the store. They are available at most Asian grocery stores that have a Thai section, but not all stores will have them…try calling and asking before you run all over. Also, wait to buy your meat until you have these on-hand in case they are hard to find!
- **One of our ingredients is fresh Ginger, Matchstick Style. If you don’t know what that is, just take fresh ginger, take off the skin, and use your knife to cut the ginger into super thin pieces, shaped like matchsticks!
- This recipe calls for ground chicken, but you can easily substitute with ground turkey. You can also use ground pork – just eliminate the canola oil.
- Once you find fresh kaffir leaves, the great news is, you can freeze them for at least a year!
- Sometimes fresh herbs are difficult to find, so I love having these tubes of herbs on hand. They store in the refrigerator for weeks but indefinitely in the freezer. You can pull them out, let them de-thaw for 10 minutes, squeeze out what you need and return to freezer. It’s a 1:1 ratio for usage and you can find them at Walmart right under the fresh herbs. You can also find them on Amazon. I’ve linked a few here: Ginger, Basil, Lemongrass, Garlic. The ones I love to keep on hand are lemongrass and ginger.
- Haven’t worked with fresh lemongrass before? Here is a video on how to use it!
- Don’t like working with raw meat? Use some food-safe disposable gloves! It helps with the weird gooey feeling on your hands. After your done, wash your hands with them on, dry and place them in a ziplock bag for next time!
- We enjoy the lettuce wraps with cooked vermicelli noodles, but if you aren’t into that, you can just skip them. The flavor is still delicious!
- Read the instructions on your vermicelli noodles, but I usually boil 4 cups of water, turn off the heat, let the noodles soak for approximately 5 minutes, then rinse in a strainer with cold water.
- If you don’t like spiciness, leave out and/or decrease the amount of sambal and serrano pepper.
- If you like this recipe, try out our Fresh and Vibrant Vietnamese Braised Lemongrass Pork.