Korean-style Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Stuff your mouth with some of my Korean-style chicken lettuce wraps. I offer you my healthy take on a traditional Korean BBQ favorite.

Korean food is more than just eating dinner- it is a communal experience. I cannot count how many times I went out to eat Korean BBQ with various friends in Seoul. The only downside for me was that I don’t eat red meat, and Korean BBQ is always pork or beef. This motivated me to create a lettuce wrap recipe that involved chicken. And my mission was a success! These wraps are absolutely divine! I melt every time I get to eat this for dinner. If you are new to Korean cuisine, I encourage you to give this recipe a go!

Notes on how to set the table:

  • Place the chicken in the middle of the table for all to share
  • Each person gets their own individual rice bowl
  • Each person also gets their own Ssamjang (dip) dish
  • Serve the lettuce leaves on a platter or bowl. Your guests can rip off pieces of lettuce to make their individual wraps
  • Chopsticks recommended 😉

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Korean-style Chicken Lettuce Wraps (Stephanie Thiel)

Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 3 skinless and boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped white or yellow onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 3 Tbsp. teriyaki sauce
  • 2 tsp. gochujang
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • One head romaine or red leaf lettuce
    • Use a lettuce that is sweet (I don’t recommend green leaf because it is too bitter tasting)
  • Ssamjang (Korean soybean paste) to dip
  • White or brown rice (one bowl per person)

My favorite brand of teriyaki sauce to use:

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Method:

To cook the chicken:

  1. In a large skillet, saute the onions (with olive oil) on low-medium heat. Cook for 3-4 minutes.IMG_0739
  2. Chop the chicken breasts into bite size pieces. Add to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat. Salt and pepper to taste.IMG_0740
  3. Add the teriyaki sauce and gochujang. Stir until the sauces are evenly distributed on all chicken pieces. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes.IMG_0748
  4. Then, turn the stove heat to high. Cook until the liquids are cooked out and the chicken begins to nicely caramelize. (About 10 minutes).IMG_0749

Instructions to serve:

  1. Assemble and eat with your hands!
  2. Take a piece of lettuce (about 1/3 of a leaf).
  3. Place on the lettuce leaf about 1/2 Tbsp. rice, piece of chicken, and some Ssamjang paste.
  4. Wrap the lettuce around the contents. Then, proceed to stuff into your mouth.
  5. You of course can add more of less rice, chicken, or Ssamjang paste onto the lettuce wraps. You will learn what you want more or less of in each bite.

IMG_0800I would love to hear your feedback if you try this recipe! 🙂

 

Ssamjang (Korean seasoned soybean paste)

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Ssamjang (쌈장) – seasoned soybean paste; typically used as a dip in Korean BBQ/lettuce wraps; purely awesome and addicting

Ssamjang is one of my favorite foods! When I lived in Korea, my language skills were pretty novice. However, you bet I knew how to ask  “쌈장 더 주세요?” (‘Can I please have more Ssamjang?’) at the restaurants. I crave this stuff.

If you make my Korean lettuce wraps, you really need Ssamjang. It adds so much flavor and texture. I never use Ssamjang to cook things, but use it often (probably too much!) on the side as a dip.

You can find Ssamjang at any Korean mart. It always comes in the green container. Available in all sizes.

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Kimchi Fried Rice

For the adventurous or the wanna-be adventurous mouth, I present kimchi fried rice. Spice up your everyday dinners with this popular Korean dish.

Let’s face it, Korean food can be intimidating- both to eat and to cook. Even though I lived in Korea, I will never be able to cook as well as the native grandmothers do. Some of the best food Korean food I have eaten was in the homes of the local people.

Now now… Don’t be discouraged. You can still cook Korean food in your own kitchen. Get your feet wet with this kimchi fried rice recipe. It’s straightforward, vegan, and only as spicy as you make it.

Just to note before you get started. Koreans are notorious for not measuring. There is no science or precision to this. I give good guidelines, but overall trust your taste buds.

Kimchi Fried Rice (Stephanie Thiel)

Serves: 2-4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3-4 cups cooked brown or white rice
  • 1 small white potato, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2/3 cup kimchi, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
    • Use a little more if you like it spicy!
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • Dash of sesame oil
  • Olive oil (or other oil to cook with)
  • Optional: seaweed
    • I love to eat kimchi fried rice with a side of seaweed

METHOD: (pictorial version; an in-depth text-version following)

  1. Sauté the onion and carrot. (Medium heat, 5 min.)IMG_0425
  2. Add the potato and continue to sauté (5 min.)IMG_0426
  3. Add the chopped kimchi and continue to cook for about 5 min.IMG_0446
  4. Turn the heat on high.
  5. Add the cooked rice, gochujang paste, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Mix well.IMG_0448
  6. You may need to add some olive/cooking oil to allow the rice to fry.IMG_0450
  7. Enjoy! I like eating it with seaweed!

METHOD: (Text-version & details)

  • In a large frying pan, sauté (in olive oil) the diced onion and carrot on  medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Next, add the diced potato to the pan. Continue to sauté for another 5 minutes, or until potato has softened and onions are caramelized.
  • Chop the kimchi. Then add it to the pan. Fry on medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  • Now it’s time to add the cooked rice to the pan. Crank the heat to high.
  • After you have added the rice, add the gochujang paste, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Stir well so they are evenly distributed.
  • At this point, you may need to drizzle some olive oil to better fry the rice.
  • Fry for about 5 minutes, or until done.
  • Enjoy!