Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Several years ago when I worked in Kansas City, my cube mate and coworker, Rachel, and I would often venture to the plaza for a lunch splurge. Country Club Plaza is a posh shopping district in downtown KC. Lots of fabulous stores and great restaurants. I loved visiting the plaza. It made you feel like you’ve been transported to a European city.

The Plaza is an outdoor museum of romantic Spanish architecture and European art where people actually live and work every day amid its beauty. It was designed in 1922 as the nation’s first suburban shopping district. Since then, its open-air public art gallery has continuously added to its collection, with fountains, sculptures and murals that bring to the heart of our city the very best of the Old World and the new.

Those who have traveled overseas might do a double take when they stroll past the statue of Sir Winston Churchill. Just steps away two of Spain’s landmarks–the Giralda Tower and the Seville Light — tower majestically on the horizon. Down the street in a quiet courtyard sits an original bronze of Pomona by Italian sculptor Donatello Gabrielli. Is this England, or maybe Spain, or could it be Italy? What a surprise to the traveler to find these magnificent European works of art in the heart of the Midwest — on Kansas City’s famed Country Club Plaza.

(Excerpt taken from


A few times Rachel and I would eat at P.F. Chang’s, a Chinese restaurant chain. She loved their Chicken Lettuce Wraps. She would order that as an appetizer, and we would split it. It was she who introduced me to dish.

The other day while at the grocery store parking lot, searching the Epicurious recipe database on my phone for a quick, light, summer dish, I came across their Lettuce Cups with Stir-Fried Chicken. I immediately thought of Rachel, and decided to try out the recipe.

Instead of butter lettuce, I used some gorgeous romaine; and instead of chicken thighs, I used chicken breasts. I also used sesame oil instead of peanut oil just because I didn’t have any peanut oil in my pantry.

And this is how I minced my chicken.

It was lovely. The chicken had a beautiful flavor of ginger and garlic with a touch of soy sauce. Paired with fresh leafy lettuce and cilantro (which I included) and chopped cashews and sweet chili sauce, the dish was refreshing and very satisfying.

All images ©2012 Sriprae P. McDonald

2 thoughts on “Chicken Lettuce Wraps

  1. Heralding summer and all manner of beautiful flavours this is one of my ultimate favourites. It goes by the name of San Choy Bau for me and this is perfect for those easy dinners at home. Love the light in your photo, it’s so lovely & fresh! 🙂

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