Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken




I often have a sloppy dinner sitting at the kitchen island, you know the kind dripping down your hands saucy things like Asian lettuce wraps.  Cleanup is a lot easier on a granite or other hard-surfaced counter top where you can wipe it down pretty good and maybe use a Clorox type hard surface cleaner for, in this case, Vietnamese fish sauce based dipping sauce drips and little puddles.  Tonight turkey lettuce wraps are on the menu while I prepare Vietnamese lemongrass  chicken breasts for another lovely bowl of Pho for lunch tomorrow or a Vietnamese chicken salad…


For the lettuce wraps:  I like rather spicy wraps, but some kids like sweet Marisa also like them tamed down in the hot and spicy department…adjust hot seasonings kids palettes…

1 pound ground turkey
3 mined scallions
3 fat cloves of garlic
1/4 tablespoon roasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger (or use the equivalent in the tube ginger paste)
3 large leaves of minced Thai basil or regular basil
1 stalk of lemon grass, finely minced (remove tough outer stalk and trim end) see video below
2+1/2 ounces canned chopped water chestnuts
pinches of hot red pepper flakes
black and white pepper to taste

Serve with:

Cleaned and dried Boston or Bibb lettuce leaves
Chopped peanuts, torn cilantro, mint and Thai basil leaves
A favorite Asian dipping sauce, preferably Vietnamese
I love minced baby cucumber and Asian hot sauces with my lettuce wraps

Gently blend all of the ingredients for the turkey, heat a nonstick or well seasoned sauté pan and sauté turkey until it is no longer pink, remove to a serving bowl with a slotted spoon and serve with the lettuce leaves and garnishes of choice