These Chinese chicken lettuce wraps are an easy, healthy meal made with ground chicken that’s cooked in soy sauce, ginger, and oyster sauce, and served in butter lettuce leaves.
This is one of those dishes that I have to order every single time I go to Chinatown and see them on the menu. I love the crunch of the lettuce, the saltiness of the soy sauce, and the sweetness of the oyster sauce.–Joanne Weir
Chicken Lettuce Wraps FAQs
What is oyster sauce?
Oyster Sauce made from oyster extract, (so obviously, those allergic to shellfish should avoid) and it doesn’t taste like a sea creature at all. Instead, this thick, nearly black sauce has an earthy, slightly sweet, and salty taste. It is a mixture of boiled down oyster juices (which have caramelized), along with salt and sugar.
I can’t find butter lettuce, what is a good alternative?
If you can’t find butter, look for Boston lettuce as a substitute. If you can’t find that, make the recipe your own and get creative. Collard greens are a perfect size and shape to become a burrito-type-vehicle for tasty fillings.
Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 1 pound ground dark meat chicken (or substitute ground turkey or pork)
- 8 scallions white and green parts, minced
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2/3 cup water chestnuts chopped
- 2 carrots peeled and grated (optional)
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce (regular or low-sodium)
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 large head butter lettuce leaves separated
- Add the chicken, scallions, and cornstarch and cook, stirring constantly and crumbling the chicken with the spoon, until the chicken is cooked through 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the water chestnuts, carrot(s) if using, soy sauce, ginger, and oyster sauce, and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
- To serve, take 1 lettuce leaf at a time and spoon a heaping tablespoon of the chicken mixture into the center. Wrap the lettuce around the filling. Serve immediately.
Wine SuggestionGewürztraminer, pinot gris, or pinot grigio.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This is a great appetizer and much healthier than the usual spring rolls. You do need nice large leaves so that you can wrap these up like a cabbage roll and then eat them in your hand. Needless to say, there were no leftovers and that, to me, is always the sign of a good recipe.
Joanne Weir knows how to take simple ingredients and add just the right combination of herbs, spices, and other accents to make the dish special. There is not a thing unusual or difficult about this recipe, but it comes together so deliciously, you’ll think you had takeout delivered from the best Chinese restaurant in town—only fresher.
These Chinese chicken lettuce wraps were so quick and easy to put together and my whole family loved them. I substituted hoisin sauce for the oyster sauce, and it worked perfectly. Loved being able to enjoy Chinese food while knowing it was still a super healthy meal to put on the table.
Originally published March 18, 2004