This Thai recipe for lettuce wraps features a mango chicken stir fry wrapped up in lettuce leaves and topped with crispy noodles. Crispy noodles are a feature of traditional palace-style Thai cooking, and they make this dish extra-special. You can use fresh or frozen mango, and serve this lettuce wrap dish as either the main course or as an appetizer or party food. Have your family and friends put together their own, so that they are the freshest and crispiest lettuce wraps possible. Makes a fun dish for a party!
- 1/2 package (6-7 oz.) vermicelli rice noodles
- 1 cup oil for deep-frying (such as canola)
- 2 heads iceberg or other "head" lettuce
- 2 boneless chicken breasts (cut into strips or small pieces)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup white wine (or white cooking wine)
- 1 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1-2 cups snow peas (chopped into 1-inch lengths)
- 1 fresh mango, cut into small cubes (see link below for instructions), or 1 1/2 cups frozen mango, thawed
- 1 red pepper, diced
- Stir-Fry Sauce:
- 2 Tbsp. fish sauce (available in tall bottles at Asian/Chinese food stores)
- 1 Tbsp. vinegar
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. oyster sauce
- Optional: 1-3 tsp. chili sauce (depending on how spicy you'd like dish)
- For Serving:
- Optional: 1/2 cup hoisin sauce as a dip*
- *Available in the Asian section of most grocery stores
For information on how to buy, cut, and prepare fresh mango, see my: All About Mangos.
To make the crispy noodles, pour at least 1 cup canola (or other low-smoke oil) into a wok or small frying pan. Warm the oil for at least 5 minutes over medium to medium-high heat (I find #6 on the dial is perfect).
The oil needs to be hot to make crispy noodles. When you see bubbles rising from the bottom of the pan, try dipping in a few noodle strands. If they begin to sizzle and expand, the oil is ready. If nothing happens, your oil isn't hot enough yet.
When oil is ready, drop in small handfuls of noodles at a time (I use scissors to cut the noodles into small sections first).
Noodles should puff up almost immediately. Using tongs, turn them so that both sides of the noodles cook and puff up. Noodles turn very white and expansive when cooked- golden brown is okay too, but don't leave the noodles in the oil too long, or they will burn.
Allow noodles to drain on absorbent paper or a tea towel while you prepare the rest of the dish. Note: Leftover crispy noodles can be stored for a day or two in plastic bags - kids love to snack on them, or they can be added as a topping for other stir-fry dishes.
Mix the cornstarch in a cup with the soy sauce until dissolved. Place chicken in a bowl and pour this mixture over. Stir well and set aside.
Mix all the stir-fry sauce ingredients together and set aside.
Spoon 1-2 Tbsp. of the oil you used for the crispy noodles into a wok or large frying pan. Over medium-high heat, stir-fry the garlic briefly (30 seconds), then add the chicken (together with the soy sauce mixture) plus 1/4 cup of the wine.
Stir-fry the chicken for 3-5 minutes, until cooked, adding more wine whenever the work/pan becomes too dry.
Add the stir-fry sauce plus the rest of the ingredients (snow peas, mango, and red pepper). Stir-fry until vegetables have softened (about 2 more minutes).
Remove stir-fry from heat. Taste-test it for salt, sugar, and spice, adding more fish sauce if not salty enough (I usually add another Tbsp.). Also, add another tsp. sugar if too sour (this will depend on the sweetness of your mango). Add more chili sauce if you want it spicier.
Cover the stir-fry with a lid to keep warm until you're ready to eat.
Prepare the lettuce by cutting out its core (this will make removing the leaves easier. Now gently pull apart the leaves, starting with the leaf-end rather than the core-end (I find this usually works better).
Pile the leaves back together on a serving plate and set on the table. Place the stir-fry in a covered container (like a casserole dish) and also set on the table. Add a generous bowl of crisy noodles, plus a dish of hoisin sauce for dipping (if desired).
Have your family or friends put together their own wraps. Start with a lettuce leaf. Add a few Tbsp. of the stir-fry, then top with crispy noodles. Wrap up and eat! Dip your wrap in the hoisin sauce, if desired. You can also serve this dish with extra chili sauce on the side. ENJOY!