A popular Asian appetizer with lots of fresh veg and a spicy kick.
It is wonderful and convenient that in Dubai we have available an amazing range of products from all over the world. However, I can’t help but wonder about things like carbon footprint and sustainability. One of the ways we try to reduce our own carbon footprint is to try and buy as much local produce as possible.
There are community markets here where produce is sourced from regional farms and you can buy a la carte or what I like to call a “mystery box.”
Each mystery box contains different combinations of fruit and vegetables which are freshly picked and transported to a central garden center for sale. Although you cannot choose what goes into the boxes, you can select the box with the produce that best fits your needs.
I picked up my mystery box from the Dubai Garden Centre which also hosts a number of other local food businesses. The last time I was there, I saw vendors selling cupcakes, brownies, bread, pickles, jams, and much more.
With a RAW coffee cafe, a House of Prose second-hand bookshop, Scotch and I can easily spend a whole Saturday morning at the Dubai Garden Center. And Wee Scotch loves to stick his nose onto the fish tanks in the aquarium section. Although I’m not so sure if the shop assistants appreciate all the nose and fingerprints he leaves behind.
Having selected my first mystery box, I arrived home and had fun going through the items which included assorted peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, purple sweet potatoes, green beans, baby carrots, fresh basil, and much more. I started to plan the week’s meals around the contents of my mystery box and my goal was to use as much of it as possible without having to buy other ingredients.
I loved the flavors of the marinated chicken combined with the spicy yellow chilis and the chili garlic sauce. It was nicely complimented by the crispness of the lettuce and the crunchy texture of the peppers and cucumbers.
These lettuce wraps are very versatile and I encourage you to use whatever is fresh and locally available in your area.
Spicy Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 4-6 pieces of lettuce (such as butter, Boston, iceberg, or curly lettuce)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1/2 red pepper , diced
- 1 spicy yellow chilli pepper , sliced thinly
- 1 cucumber , diced
- 1 scallion , cut into 1/4 inch pieces
Marinade for Chicken:
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
Sauce for Drizzling:
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1 teaspoon chile garlic sauce (I used Lee Kum Kee brand which can be found in the Asian section of most supermarkets)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Mix together the marinade ingredients and marinade the chicken for one hour.
- Prepare sauce by whisking all the ingredients together. Set aside.
- Rinse lettuce and pat dry with paper towels.
- Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat and fry the ginger for 30 seconds.
- Toss in the chicken and stir-fry for 5 minutes or until cooked through. Toss in the red and yellow peppers and the cucumbers and stir for 5 minutes until tender. Throw in the scallions and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Arrange each piece of lettuce on its own plate and spoon the chicken mixture onto the lettuce. Drizzle the sauce on top. Fold in the sides of the lettuce and roll.