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Chicken Pepper and Basil Lettuce Cups with Thai BBQ Sauce

Chicken Pepper and Basil Lettuce Cups with Thai BBQ Sauce


For the sauce:

  • 1 cup chicken stock

  • A few thin slices of peeled ginger root

  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed

  • 3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter

  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce

  • Juice of 1 ripe lime

For the lettuce cups:

  • 1/2 English (seedless) cucumber, cut into 2-3-inch long matchsticks

  • A fat sprinkle of kosher salt or fine sea salt

  • About 1/2 teaspoon sugar

  • 2 tablespoons stir fry, peanut or canola oil

  • 1 package ground chicken (about 1 1/4 pounds)

  • 1 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

  • 4 cloves garlic, grated or chopped

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Szechuan or black pepper

  • 1 large red field pepper, bell pepper or mild frying pepper, seeded and chopped

  • 3 small Thai dried red chili peppers or 2 fresh red chili peppers, seeded and finely chopped

  • 1 cup pulled Thai basil leaves or torn basil

  • A handful of mint leaves, coarsely chopped

  • About 1 tablespoon fish sauce, to taste

  • Juice of 1 lime

  • 1 large bunch scallions, whites and greens, sliced on bias

  • Chopped peanuts

  • Iceberg and Bibb/butter lettuce, stemmed and arranged on platter for filling


For the sauce, in a small skillet over medium-high heat, combine the stock, ginger and crushed garlic; reduce by half. Remove the ginger and garlic and stir in the peanut butter to melt and incorporate. Add the the hoisin; remove from heat and stir in lime juice. In a small bowl, season the cucumber with salt and sugar. Toss and let stand. In a large skillet over high heat, heat the oil, two turns of the pan. When the oil ripples and smokes, add the chicken; brown and crumble. Add the ginger, garlic, pepper, mild peppers and chili peppers; stir 2 minutes to cook the peppers to tender-crisp. Add the basil, mint, fish sauce, lime juice and scallions; taste and adjust the flavors. Serve in a large platter topped with peanuts, and with the lettuce platter and sauce alongside.