Spicy Szechuan chicken lettuce wraps

November 12, 2009 4:55:52 PM PST
Spicy Szechuan chicken lettuce wraps. It's a treat so festive and delicious that no one will suspect it's actually healthy!

Spicy Szechuan Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 16 min
Serves: 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 cup shredded daikon radish
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1/4 cup bean sprouts
  • 3 scallions, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium Szechuan sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, for frying
  • 2 tablespoons trans-fat free, light butter alternative spread (such as Smart Balance)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 head Bibb lettuce leaves
Directions:
  1. Split chicken breasts in half. If too thick, pound out to make thinner.

  2. In a medium bowl, mix together radish, carrots, bean sprouts, and scallions. Add Szechuan sauce.

  3. In a small bowl, mix together five-spice, cayenne, salt and pepper. Season chicken breasts lightly with rub. Cut the chicken into strips.

  4. In a large skillet over high heat, add the grapeseed oil. Once hot, sear the chicken breasts for 4 minutes on each side. Add butter alternative and lemon juice to pan and baste the chicken for another minute. Remove chicken to a platter to let cool. Once cooled, dice or shred the chicken.

  5. Place a spoonful of the vegetable mixture and the shredded chicken onto each leaf of lettuce. Roll and serve.


Food is an important part of everyone's holiday celebrations. So many of us enjoy preparing special holiday foods for our loved ones. But oftentimes, these special dishes are not as healthy as they could be. Many are high in fat, salt and sugar.

Chef Aaron McCargo Jr. of "Big Daddy's House" on the Food Network is going to show us that holiday meals can be festive and delicious while still being healthy.

Chef McCargo will be teaching a special class in Oakland on Saturday, Nov. 14, at to share the message of healthy holiday cooking and Power to End Stroke with Bay Area residents.

Power to End Stroke is an initiative of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Its purpose is empower African-Americans to take action and reduce their risk of stroke. Chef McCargo's class is made possible by a grant from Kaiser Permanente.

Currently, African-Americans have about twice the risk of a first stroke as white Americans.

What many people don't know is that most strokes are preventable and a healthy diet plays a role. Risk factors for stroke include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes; and obesity. You also need to stay active. And if you smoke, stop.

Stroke is the #3 cause of death among Americans, and the #1 cause of disability.

About Aaron McCargo Jr.:

Aaron McCargo, Jr. competed on and won season four of The Next Food Network Star in 2008, beating out thousands of culinary hopefuls for the ultimate dream job - his own Food Network show.

Big Daddy's House premiered August 3, 2008 and ranked as the number one "In the Kitchen" weekend show during its initial six-episode run. Food Network renewed the show for a second season, which premiered January 4, 2009. Big Daddy's House averages a 25 percent African-American audience, helping to raise the overall racial diversity of the network's viewers.

On Big Daddy's House, Aaron shares his passion for big, bold flavors and fun, family cooking. From comfort foods to barbeque favorites to breakfast delights, Aaron whips up mouth-watering recipes inspired by many years of culinary experience and his fun-loving family while bringing a down-to-earth vibe and warm smile to the kitchen. Whether cooking with his children, relatives, friends, or even by himself, big food and big fun reign supreme.

A family man who adores all things flavorful, Aaron's passion for cooking was sparked at the age of four when he started baking cakes in his sister's Easy Bake Oven. Always an entrepreneur at heart, Aaron began making and selling cakes and cookies to his childhood friends.

At the age of 13, Aaron was as a Junior Volunteer in the kitchen at Cooper Hospital University. He has since worked in nine New Jersey restaurants including casual and fine dining. In 2003, Aaron opened his own restaurant in Camden, N.J., called McCargo's Restaurant, which closed in 2006. Most recently, Aaron served as the Executive Chef of Catering at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. He attended Atlantic Cape Community College's Academy of Culinary Arts.

Born and raised in Camden, N.J., Aaron regularly speaks to youth at community schools and events illustrating that they too can succeed despite the odds. Honoring him for his success and service, Camden Mayor Gwendolyn Faison presented Aaron with the keys to the city in 2008 and designated September 25 as Aaron McCargo, Jr. Day.

Aaron comes from a large family (he has three brothers and two sisters) whose constant support has helped him achieve his goals. In his spare time, Aaron enjoys Bible study, tennis, buffalo wings, watching sports, and traveling. Married with three children, Aaron lives with his family in New Jersey.

For more information about Aaron or his show Big Daddy's House, visit www.foodnetwork.com//big-daddys-house/


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