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! 🙂

 

Kickin’ Korean Chicken Skewers

One of the perks of living in Hawaii is grilling year round. This is a unique Korean twist based on my dad’s secret chicken skewers recipe. It’s a nice blend of sweet, savory, and spicy. While the grill is on, you might as well caramelize some pineapple to complement the meal.

chicken sauce

RECIPE: Kickin’ Korean Chicken Skewers (Stephanie Thiel)

You’ll need:

  • 8-10 chicken tenders
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 4 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black peppercorn
  • 8-10 wooden skewers for grilling (pre-soak before using)

Directions:

  1. Mix honey, soy sauce, gochujang, salt and pepper in a large container.
  2. Add the chicken tenders to the mixture and toss to coat. Cover.
  3. Refrigerate for at least one hour to marinate. Drain. Use remaining marinade to brush on chicken while grilling.
  4. Thread chicken onto skewers and grill for 15 minutes on medium heat.

Gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)

gochu

Gochujang (고추장)- hot pepper paste; a staple in Korean cooking; a delicious, nutritious, and spicy paste made from red peppers, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, and salt.

I love seeing people eat gochujang for the first time. It’s not like a punch-in-the-face kind of spice, it’s a slow burn that catches you by surprise and lingers on.

When I was living in South Korea, I ate my fair share of gochujang. I have grown a love-hate relationship with this kitchen essential.  It’s become my go-to spice. Gochujang boasts a nutritious and natural spice that should find a place in everybody’s pantry.

You can find this at most Asian and/or Korean marts. It always comes in the red container.