True life: I’m a messy eater.
Not messy in a cute “are you saving that for later?” way. Messy in a full-on spilling salad dressing and flinging veggies way.
And, if the food is spicy? Even worse! On top of the ketchup on my dress, I’ll have a red, sweaty face. For the longest time, I didn’t enjoy spicy food at all because of this. I couldn’t handle it, and would spend the whole meal alternating taking bites and chugging water.
Then, somehow, I turned a corner. Gradually, I began to want spicier foods. My tolerance still isn’t that high, but I love the taste. And, I happen to cook for someone who is a spicy-fiend. Nothing is too hot for him. So, it’s always a challenge finding a happy medium!
Both Ryan and I love Kung Pao Chicken. Since I usually fill up on rice too quickly if we go out or order delivery, I wanted to find a healthier (and more cost-efficient) alternative to our favorite Asian dish. I adapted this recipe from Budget Bytes.
I’ve made this more than three times in the past three weeks. Safe to say it’s a keeper! It’s so good, and fairly quick to throw together. If you want it even spicier, add another tablespoon of the sambal sauce.
Kung Pao Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- 1 lb. boneless chicken breasts, diced
- 3 T vegetable oil (divided)
- 3 T soy sauce (divided)
- 1 1/2 T rice vinegar (divided)
- 2 T corn starch (divided)
- 2 T brown sugar
- 1 T sambal chili garlic sauce
- 2 t minced garlic
- 1 t sesame oil
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup edamame
- 1/4 cup water chestnuts, chopped
- 1/3 cup peanuts
- 1 head of lettuce (or prepackaged lettuce wrap leaves)
To prepare the marinade for the chicken, dissolve 1 T of corn starch in 1 T of water in a medium bowl. Then, add 1 T of vegetable oil, 1 T of soy sauce, 1 T of rice wine, and 2 t of minced garlic. Stir to combine.
Cut the chicken breasts into cubes and place them in the above bowl. Then, pour it all into a large pan over medium-high heat. Stir every few minutes.
While the chicken is cooking, prepare the sauce. It’s similar to the marinade but with a couple additions. Again, start by dissolving 1 T of corn starch in 1 T of water. Then add 2 T soy sauce, 2 T rice wine, 1 T sambal, 2 T brown sugar, and 1 t sesame oil. Stir to combine, then set the sauce aside.
Next, prepare the bell pepper, carrots, edamame and water chestnuts.
Once the chicken is cooked through, add the vegetables and sauce to the pan. Cook until the sauce has thickened a little – just a few minutes.
Then, pile the chicken and veggie mixture into lettuce wraps and garnish with the peanuts. Enjoy!