Bang Bang Chicken Lettuce Wraps
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Bang bang chicken but in lettuce wraps! These bang bang chicken lettuce wraps are packed with protein, fluffy jasmine rice and drizzled with homemade bang bang sauce. Fresh and so flavorful!
Introducing you to a healthier take on a classic – Bang bang chicken lettuce wraps.
Okay, so it’s bang bang shrimp that’s popular, not chicken. And no one eats it in lettuce wraps. But, hey! Why can’t that be a thing? Just think. Crispy, crunchy lettuce, creamy-sweet-spicy sauce, sauteed chicken and fluffy white rice. See? It goes! And wait until you take a bite with a few sesame seeds sprinkled on top and a handful of chopped cilantro. And if cilantro isn’t your thing, it’s cool, no sweat. You can drop it; this is easily adaptable.
These lettuce wraps are a healthier alternative to the not-so-healthy bang bang chicken or shrimp that you may have made or tried at restaurants in the past. Plus, they’re a complete meal, and you can serve it buffet-style and let the fam put it together themselves.
I love recipes that take a load off the cook!
Since late December (but really like mid-January) I’ve started adapting recipes that are super not healthy into recipes that are a little more waistline-friendly. These bang bang chicken wraps are still considered a treat for me a couple of reasons. 1.) I’m serving them over white jasmine rice. 2.) because there’s bang bang sauce on top and that’s not exactly free of calories.
But I find sprinkling meals like this into my monthly food calendar now and then helps me stay a little saner than my normal lean protein// veggies//veggies // did I mention veggies// brown rice lifestyle.
In no way am I saying eating bang bang chicken lettuce wraps once a week is going to healthy. I want to get that out in the open because I know someone will get very upset with me and message saying these aren’t healthy. The standard version of this recipe calls for chicken or shrimp coated in thick batter, and deep-fried then rolled around in a mayo-based sauce. Kids, bang bang sauce, is like 90% mayo, that’s not something I want/or eat every week. Our healthier version has sauteed chicken, so we’re cutting down on calories while still keeping that flavor. What I’m saying is meals like this one sprinkled in 1-2 times a month make the healthy eating thing a lot more bearable.
A little treat that still keeps you in check.
Okay, let’s talk about homemade bang bang chicken lettuce wraps.
Two important things I want to talk about. Number 1: the sauce. Bang bang sauce is a combination of a few key ingredients, and it’s creamy with hints of sweetness and spice. You’ll use mayonnaise as the base, and we’ll spice it up with sweet Thai chili sauce, sriracha, honey and rice vinegar. If you haven’t tried Thai chili sauce, it’s sweet and syrupy and orange with speckles of chili throughout. It’s the heart and soul of bang bang sauce.
Number 2: you can swap the jasmine rice for brown rice, quinoa, farro, bulgur, couscous, and pretty much anything else you like to eat. You can even leave it out completely if that’s the kind of lifestyle you’re living. No judgment. You do you, boo.
Keep in mind the recipe for the sauce does make extra and you may or may not end up using all of it. I’m usually not big on a whole lot of sauce on food personally. But I know some people love drenching their food in it *cough cough* HUBBY *cough cough.*
As far as toppings go, you can add just about anything you like. The bang bang sauce is rich and creamy, so I want to use earthy cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice on top to cut through some of that richness. You can also use pickled carrots or daikon radish (think banh mi toppings) on top of here. Bang bang lettuce wraps are seamlessly adaptable to the flavors you like. I added a couple of sliced jalapenos to mine and loved the zing they brought!
Bang bang chicken lettuce wraps make Mondays a little more flavorful!
P.S. see those cute curly scallions on top? Don’t they look super fancy and fun? You won’t believe how easy they are to do. It’s just the green ends that I sliced super paper thin and then added them to an ice water bath for a bit. And within 5 minutes, you’ll see they start to curl up that way. It’s not necessary, but it’s a nice little trick if you’re serving a meal and you want to be fancy!
Bang Bang Sauce:
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sweet Thai chili sauce
- 1-2 tablespoons EACH: sriracha sauce AND honey (according to taste)
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken, chopped (½ inch)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- Lettuce leaves (for wrapping)
- Cooked rice, chopped cilantro, toasted sesame seeds, chopped jalapeños, lime wedges for serving
- MAKE THE SAUCE: Combine the ingredients for the bang bang sauce starting with 1 tablespoon of honey and sriracha and adjusting as desired with more. I used 2 tablespoons each but it did make it spicy! Set aside 1/3 cup of the prepared sauce and cover and refrigerate the rest until ready to use.
- MAKE THE CHICKEN: Marinate the chicken in soy sauce, lime juice, and cornstarch for 10 minutes. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and sauté for just a couple seconds until fragrant. Add the chicken leaving any excess marinade in the bowl and cook through over medium-high heat (about 4-5 minutes.) Allow the mixture to cool slightly. Add the reserved 1/3 cup bang bang sauce to chicken and stir to combine.
- SERVE: place some of the rice on the lettuce leaves, top with chicken mixture, chopped cilantro, chopped jalapeños, and additional bang bang sauce.
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