Sometimes fresh inspiration is hard to come by in Alaska.
I know, I know. You’re like “this girl, what about all that fresh salmon, halibut, MOOSE!?”. But I’m talking real, punch you in the face flavor – herbs, citrus, crisp vegetables. They’re often out of season, out of stock, or out of my price range.
Thankfully, local produce is becoming much more widely available in Anchorage. After sharing fresh rhubarb ice cream and local honey sticks with my little man at the farmer’s market this weekend, I scored some Thai basil that really hit that summer herb spot.
One of my favorite dishes at the Thai restaurant across from my office is this stir fried rice situation with a bunch of Thai basil and a fried runny egg on top. Something about the fresh flavor of herbs combined with that salty umami of Asian sauces just gets me. But today I wanted something lighter, crunchier, slimmer. So I could eat a pint of freakin’ haagen-daaz without my cat judging me.
These lettuce wraps come together in about 7.5 seconds. And have you had ponzu sauce? Because I want to put it on ALL the things. “Seasoned” citrusy soy sauce deliciousness. I think it could make a paper towel taste like great sushi. Okay that might be a little far. Decent sushi. Oh! BTW – Thai basil is the basil that looks like regular basil but with purple-y stems. Basil.
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 lb lean ground chicken
- ½ small yellow onion, diced
- ½ red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 serrano chile, seeded and diced
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 cup fresh Thai Basil, rough chopped
- 1 head butter lettuce, rinsed and pulled apart into 'cups'
- Ponzu sauce, limes, and Sriracha for serving
- Saute onion, bell pepper, and half the garlic in 1 tablespoon canola oil over medium heat until onion begins to soften and mixture becomes fragrant. Season lightly with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl.
- In the same pan, add the second tablespoon of canola oil, the rest of the garlic, serrano pepper, and the chicken. Cook on medium heat, breaking the chicken up into small pieces, until cooked through and beginning to brown. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, and corn starch.
- Add vegetable mixture and sauce mixture to the chicken, allow to simmer and bubble for a couple minutes until the sauce thickens.
- Stir in basil and lime juice.
- Spoon mixture into lettuce cups and serve with ponzu sauce, Sriracha, and lime wedges. And lots of napkins.
Make these for your girlfriends and get your deck wine on, stat!