Minced Asian Chicken Parcels

-- May 4th, 2015 --
nouveau larb nouveau larb This dish is the per­fect amal­gam of sev­eral of my favorite things: I love larb, the Thai minced chicken dish, chilled and shot through with corian­der and lime juice.  I love hacked chicken, the peanut-y, sesame-y, soy sauce-y delight­ful sauce a savory delight.  I love a many-vegetable stir-fry, col­or­ful and healthy.  And I love any­thing wrapped in let­tuce leaves, or if you’re feel­ing indul­gent, Chi­nese pan­cakes. So imag­ine my delight when I came up with this fan­tas­ti­cally light dish, the com­bi­na­tion of so many of my beloved fla­vors and meth­ods.  Pack plenty of nap­kins, as these parcels make a glo­ri­ous mess.

Minced Asian Chicken Parcels

(serves 4)

for the filling:

1 tbsp peanut oil

4 bone­less chicken breast fil­lets, well-trimmed

2 red bell pep­pers, diced

8 chest­nut or but­ton mush­rooms, diced

1 small head broc­coli, sep­a­rated into small florets

6 cloves gar­lic, finely chopped

a bunch spring onions/scallions, sliced, white and green parts

for the sauce:

2-inch knob gin­ger, peeled

100ml/1/3 cup dark soy sauce (the dark sort really makes a dif­fer­ence, if you can find it, but if you can’t, reg­u­lar soy sauce is fine)

100 ml/1/3 cup Japan­ese mirin or dry sherry

100 ml/1/3 cup clear honey

juice of 1 lime, plus zest

12 tbsps/3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

50 ml/3 tbsps sesame oil

hand­ful cilantro/coriander leaves and stalks

for the parcels:

Chi­nese pancakes

Bibb/Boston/Little Gem let­tuce heads, sep­a­rated into leaves

chopped peanuts, pinenuts or cashews (optional)

Prepa­ra­tion couldn’t be sim­pler.  Put the trimmed chicken breasts — cut into man­age­able chunks — through either a mincer/grinder or pulse in your food proces­sor until the tex­ture of minced/ground beef.

Heat the peanut oil in a fry­ing pan and then fry together the chicken and veg­eta­bles until the chicken is just cooked through.  Do not over­cook.  Set aside in a pretty serv­ing bowl to cool slightly.

Place all the sauce ingre­di­ents into a small food proces­sor or blender and blend until smooth.  With nice clean hands, toss the chicken and veg­eta­bles with the sauce, in your pretty bowl.

Arrange the pan­cakes and let­tuce leaves on sev­eral easily-reached plat­ters.  Every­one can pile the chicken mix­ture into these lit­tle con­tain­ers and top with nuts, if using.  Allow plenty of nap­kins per per­son as the parcels are messy!