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Chicken, peanut and noodle wraps

Chicken, peanut and noodle wraps
Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Sometimes you just have to have lettuce. Usually, it's a salad. And these early fall days, as farmers markets fill up with gorgeous, leafy heads -- many too tender to flourish in high summer's heat -- some lettuce looks so ... Read more

Total time: 40 minutes plus at least 30 minutes marinating | Serves 8 as an appetizer

Sweet and sour sauce

  • 1 tablespoon dried red chile flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

Step 1In a small, dry saucepan, toast the chile flakes over high heat until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the salt, sugar and rice vinegar. Cook over medium-low heat until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Stir in the garlic. Remove the sauce from the heat and cool completely. (Makes one-half cup.)

Fillings and assembly

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed, divided
  • 3 teaspoons minced ginger, divided
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chile paste (such as Sambal Oelek)
  • 7 tablespoons natural-style smooth peanut butter (such as Laura Scudder)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons roasted peanut oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6 ounces vermicelli or capellini (angel hair) pasta (about 6 "nests" angel hair pasta)
  • 1 Japanese or 1/2 English cucumber
  • 2 heads butter lettuce
  • 1/2 cup toasted chopped peanuts
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

Step 1Mix together the soy sauce, wine or sherry, sesame oil, 1 clove crushed garlic and 1 teaspoon minced ginger.

Step 2Rinse and pat dry the chicken breasts, then flatten them slightly with the flat end of a meat tenderizer or the bottom of a skillet. Place the chicken in soy sauce mixture and marinate one-half hour to an hour.

Step 3Combine remaining crushed garlic and ginger, the chile paste, peanut butter, sugar, peanut oil, lime juice and water in a blender jar. Blend until smooth to make the peanut sauce. (Makes 1 cup sauce.)

Step 4Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain, rinse under cold water; drain again. When the pasta is cool, toss with the peanut sauce.

Step 5Remove the chicken from the marinade; discard marinade. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat and grill the chicken on each side until cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the chicken from the heat. Cool slightly and cut or tear into strips.

Step 6Peel and seed the cucumber and cut it into 2-inch julienne strips.

Step 7Tear the lettuce leaves off the core and rinse, discarding any wilted or tough outer leaves. Pat dry.

Step 8Assemble bundles by placing about 2 tablespoons peanut noodles in the center of each lettuce leaf and topping with slices of chicken and strips of cucumber. Sprinkle with the chopped peanuts and cilantro. Serve with sweet and sour dipping sauce.


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