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Challenge: Savoring Spring

Lettuce Celebrate To Celebrate

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Stir frying is a Chinese cooking technique. Ingredients are quick fried in hot oil. This seals in the best flavor. And, it preserves texture. Home cooks and chefs love to stir-fry. You will love it too. It is simple and completely awe-inspiring. Magnificent!

Lettuce Cups To Celebrate

  • Servings: 1 cup
  • Yield: 4
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cooking Time: 30 min

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut oil.
  • ½ cup drained & dried chopped water chestnuts
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • ½ cup chopped peanuts
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 4 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon sambal
  • 12 large cold little Gem or Butter lettuce leaves
  • Tip: To ensure success bring ingredients to room temperature

Preparation

  1. Combine ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes
  2. Blend cornstarch with soy sauce slowly until smooth
  3. Preheat cast-iron over medium-high. Add oil, heat until hot. Add room temperature chicken into pan, do not stir immediately. Allow a golden sear
  4. Add ginger, garlic, and red pepper
  5. Add soy sauce mixture and stir-fry until sauce boils and thickens
  6. Add, chestnuts, onions, peanuts, sesame oil, brown sugar, sambal and heat through.
  7. Continue to stir until sauce reduces and becomes thick
  8. Continue to stir until sauce reduces and becomes thick
  9. Serve with Chinese mustard

Recipe Tags

It is speculated that stir-fry began as early as the Han Dynasty, while others believe it did not begin until the Ming dynasty, almost 1000 years later. However old stir-fry is, what makes it so distinct from other styles of cooking is the very high heat.

Stir-fry in China is intended on a hearth stove. The round bottom wok is set in a hole in the stove that sets about 30 inches high. The heating chamber of a hearth stove is so efficient that it heats immediately and a meal can be completed within moments.

What is so fascinating is that the Chinese are so fuel conscience, they know the exact amount of dried twigs and dried rice stalk to place into the stove for each meal, leaving not one trace of residue. Magnificent!

TOOLS FOR SUCCESS:

Most of us at home, are cooking on a residential range with average power for our stir-fry. If you are using a gas range I suggest a carbon steel flat bottom wok or my favorite, cast-iron. However, if you are using an electric stove-top, I highly recommend using a just cast-iron pan. Electric does not offer the cooking power needed to heat a wok.

STUFF THAT MATTERS:

Preheating the wok. How to avoid under heating or overheating. No shimmer of the oil or the sizzle of the garlic? Wok is under heated. Are you seeing wild smoke? Wok is overheated and the fire department is on the way. There goes dinner.

TECHNIQUE MATTERS:

To perfectly preheat the wok place on burner and fire it up. Begin gently placing drops of water into wok. The moment the water evaporates within a second, wok is ready. Remember, a shimmer and a sizzle is a desired result.

Every wonder why stir-fry can taste a little off or bitter? Wok was overheated. Your welcome!

Every home cook is working from either gas or electric, and require different heating techniques. If you see a recipe that tells you precisely how long to preheat your wok, wok-away.

BEST HIGH SMOKING POINT OILS FOR STIR-FRY:

Peanut, Safflower and Avocado. Grapeseed oil is fabulous as well, but it will cost a few extra pennies.

So often one can become discouraged with a meal that offers less than desirable results, especially when so much time, love and effort has gone into the preparation.

The simple key is technique. It is just that easy. I am here to offer you every tool necessary to become a fabulous cook. Just proper heating of a wok or simply removing proteins from the refrigerator ½ hour prior to cooking, or allowing chicken to sit in hot cast-iron skillet for 2 minutes to caramelize before stirring, will result in the most spectacular dish.

I must admit…my brain sees, feels and has a sense of ingredients, just knowing what proportions to use. Or, often just experimenting until it is perfected. Tossing and blending paying no attention measurements. I tell you this to free you from recipe bondage, unless you are baking, then pay no attention to what I am telling you.

Cooking is a method. Please do follow my recipe directions because it is precise guidance. But, the next time you prepare this dish, feel free to add to what your taste prefer while being aware of portion control.

For example, I adore green onions. If you adore green onions, it is totally acceptable to go crazy with them.

Do you prefer fiery hot? Toss in more of those red pepper flakes. Use caution with ingredients that can completely alter and ruin the dish. For example, sesame oil.

MIS EN PLACE:

In close, I highly recommend Mis En Place. A French culinary term which means “putting things in place”, as in setting up and organizing ingredients before beginning the cooking process.

I would love to hear from you. Let me know how you did on your celebrated lettuce wraps.


"Happy Food To Eat"

With love, Mama G

Toodle-Oo!

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