Mango Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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For all you party people out there who enjoy the likes of PF Changs, you’re in luck today! I’m going to woo you with Mango Chicken Lettuce Wraps as a way to distract you from nagging me about another blog post. Yes, I’ve been MIA and the person whose mostly losing out is my sweet grandmother, Winnie, who is about to be featured here. Grandma, my apologies for not writing this sooner!

Here’s the recap on the past two months: I went to a wedding in Sunset Beach, North Carolina where I had the most delicious mojito and danced the night away. I visited Lake Burton with my ATL crew and said farewell to friends moving to Boston. My dear friend Claire got married in Savannah where I ate the most deliciously moist lemon cake and my friend Sean broke his chair at brunch. Much to his dismay, it was the best part of the weekend. Monroe City, Missouri stole my heart with its rolling cornfields, welcoming community, and overwhelming wildflowers. Lastly, I visited Austin, TX for the first time where I was treated to the BEST food thanks to my lovely host Molly. My sister and I talked all things growing up while we gorged on tacos, amazing smoothies, kolaches, barbecue, and brunch. I am still dreaming of the mezcal drink I had with my sistahwife Molly along with many a cucumber-grapefruit-gin drink that I tried at every place we went.

Lately I’m saying many goodbyes to friends who are starting new adventures in new cities. While I’m sad to see them go, it’s exciting to see people go on their next adventure and become a little bit more of themselves. Throughout the process of saying goodbye, I got to partake in bucket list items that I might not have ventured to otherwise 🙂 This really means new people will have to learn to partake in my late-night baking activities and that I’m going to have to start trolling Yelp in the cities where my friends move. Note to all my friends out there – when I come to visit you, I will have already found the best food instagrammers in your city and will have at least one opinion about following their food recommendations.

Let me tell you about these lettuce wraps. My grandmother loves to take the girls in my family to PF Changs where we always like to get the chicken lettuce wraps. Every time I’ve had them, I never really thought they’d be easy to make at home. THEN my friend Cessie taught Christine and I how to make these really healthy chicken lettuce wraps just like the ones at the restaurant (where you wrap it up like a massive burrito and stuff it in your mouth gracefully and then everything falls out).

After trying it once, I wanted to try out these lettuce wraps from Cookie and Kate for my grandma on Mother’s Day. My grandma Winnie is such an inspiration to me and also the person who gave me a bad habit of laughing anyone’s actually said anything. She can’t start a story without laughing which has entirely rubbed off on me. We also like to sit and eat snacks and chat about love, life , family , and most importantly faith. I was blessed to have so many wonderful Indian dishes from her kitchen over the years, and it’s been a joy to me to be able to actually make something of my own for her. Serve this dish as a light meal with coconut rice like I did or as an appetizer like at PF Changs. I actually made it in advance and it warmed up nicely. I think the mango salad benefits from some extra time marinating as well.

Thai Mango Chicken Lettuce Wraps

adapted from this recipe from Cookie and Kate 

Peanut sauce: 

⅓ cup creamy peanut butter

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce

2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar or maple syrup

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

½ lime, juiced

2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced

Mango pico
2 ripe mangos, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
½ bunch (about 4) green onions, chopped
⅓ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 jalapeño, minced
½ lime, juiced
⅛ teaspoon salt
Chicken:
1 lb chicken breast, cubed
soy sauce
sriracha or chili garlic sauce
For the rest: small head of green cabbage
Coconut rice:
 1 cup rice ( I used short grain brown rice)
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
pinch of salt
1. Boil water and coconut milk in a small pot. Add rice and salt and bring back down to a simmer, covering rice for about 25-30 minutes or until rice is tender. (you can skip this step if you just want the wraps as an appetizer)
2. In a jar or small bowl, whisk all the peanut sauce ingredients together and place in the fridge to meld flavors.
3. Mix all the mango pico ingredients in a large bowl or serving dish. I know you’re thinking there’s not much in this but I promise it taste delicious and doesn’t need much to it!
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4. Cook chicken: Heat a saute pan to medium-high heat and add a few teaspoons of coconut oil or another light flavored oil. Once hot, add chicken and soy sauce. I would recommend about a tablespoon since that’s what the tofu in the original recipe is tossed in, and I added some chili garlic sauce as well. Saute chicken for about 3-4 minutes on each side and then turn off the heat. Drain sauce out and place chicken on a serving plate.
5. To serve, cut the bottom thick part of the cabbage stem off and slowly peel back the layers of the cabbage. Really get to KNOW your cabbage. I found this to be actually pretty hard, but the good thing is that the green cabbage leaves are so thick that even if they rip they can hold a good amount of food.
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6. Eat your rice on the side or make a big mound of lettuce wrap and put chicken, mango pico, and rice in your wrap. You can either pour sauce into the wrap or dip the wrap into it.
If you’re like me, you’ll ask your grandmother a gazillion questions about growing up, how to know what God’s calling you to do next, why men are from Mars, what her favorite thing about Grandpa is, and oh yea please pass the vino. Dear Grandma, sorry this post is so late but I’m so glad you like the meal! (and I hope you read this)
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